On July 1st, to ease the tension of free agent frenzy, I headed to Twitter with a simple request: That people say a nice thing about a person from Hockey Twitter that they felt was under-appreciated.
It was a really fun exercise, and it’s not hard to see why. It got a lot of people some extra attention put towards their work and/or personality, for starters; that’s always good, especially for people who use this platform to build out careers, or at least some form of more-than-hobbies. Just as importantly, it’s a good feeling to hear that someone things good things of you sometimes. Twitter, they’ve been rightfully under fire for lately, is a platform that makes it very easy to harass and pick fights with people, but most are often too shy or believe it’s ‘not their place’ to give a pat on the back. A little backwards, but an exercise like this gives a slight refrain to the unfortunate order.
So with that all considered, I gave it another go last night.
Here’s who got shouted out by the masses.
I was thinking of leaving some notes on the people on the above list that I have familiarity with, but there are so many people on there that I know both online and in real life, and that I have a lot of respect and admiration for, that we’d honestly be here all day if I tried to do that. Just a few things about the above list, though.
- Carolyn (classlicity) and Zoe (zoeclaire_) had the most nice things said about them. One can look at use the Loui Eriksson / Pavel Datsyuk and argument and say “Well, does that make the person underappreciated then?” and it’s a fair point, but both are people who deserve a bit more of the spotlight. Zoe’s Victory Press gives a paid platform to up-and-coming writers covering under-reported women’s sports, and Carolyn is one of the best and most creative stats-inclined writers out there right now while managing Today’s Slapshot. While both have made waves in our community, they also deserve a reach beyond us as well.
- If I had to name two people on this list who I’d say are probably the most underappreciated, based on those I know, I’d have to go with Katya (katyaknappe) and Jeremy (307x). Katya has become one of my favourite writers in all of Toronto; she’s very good at identifying story ideas before everybody else and delivers them in that kind of “walking brainstorm” layout that really fits the blogosphere and that I try to use in my own work. Jeremy separates himself from much of the stats crowd by not just doing data tracking, but going beyond the traditional scope of the NHL and focusing on junior (and sometimes pro) prospects; something that I personally find more useful as the base data for those players is so minimal.
- Something you’ll notice while looking at this list is that there’s a much higher percentage of women than you tend to find talked about in the day-to-day on Hockey Twitter and even more so in traditional Hockey Media. Now, a bit of that was probably swayed by which timelines the tweets landed in, much like the influx of higher-profile stats writers (who I didn’t expect to see on an ‘under-appreciated’ list) being nominated once the exercise crossed into that section of Twitter.
- I do think that percentage goes beyond the scope of timeline coincidence, though and that while the smaller community that exists here on Twitter seems to support good work no matter where it comes from (as they should), female hockey writers and personality are probably still undervalued on the greater scale. There’s a lot of fantastic content and thoughts coming from very smart and charismatic people that doesn’t seem to get much traction outside of an inner circle, and it’s unfortunate that we all kind of know the answer why. I’m probably the last person on earth who should be looked to for a solution to a systematic issue like this, and I don’t even come close to having the answers here. But I will say that if you see good work that you feel is going unnoticed by anybody, try your best to give it the spotlight; and don’t be surprised later when you see that the demographics of the ‘deserves more credit’ talent pool are significantly different from the ‘already high profile’ talent pool.
As well as the people mentioned above, I think it’s important to recognize those who said good things about others but didn’t quite have the favour returned to them, for whatever reason there may be.
Much like the last group, there’s a handful of names here of people that I’ve spent a lot of my days talking to, because they’re fantastic human beings; as you’d probably expect out of somebody who would go out of there way to compliment a friend without the expectation of anything in return. A specific call out is probably in order for Platinum Seat Ghosts (3rdperiodsuits); they’re a bit of an inspiration for this exercise, in the sense that they were doing similar ones well before me. As a big believer in helping as many people as possible become as happy as you can help them be, it’s nice to see initatives like this one and PSG’s go well.
Anyway, that’s all from me on this; hopefully you find some new people to read and maybe even befriend out of this group of ~150!