It’s a great pleasure to you introduce you folks, if you don’t know him already, to Steve Lepore of the famed Puck the Media web site.
Lepore has been a part of the hockey blog world for several years now and was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into the game, which blogs/outlets he has covered hockey for, how he started Puck the Media and how it has grown since its inception, as well as his thoughts on the future of hockey blogging.
Without further adieu, I give you Lepore:
PH: How did you get into hockey?
SL: My father showed me the 1995 New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup Championship video, “Heaven”, when I was five years old. I had memorized every line soon enough. When the fall came around, my dad said we could purchase the SportsChannel (now MSG Plus) package and watch the Devils games all the time. My first vivid memory of hockey is watching Corey Schwab fight Tommy Soderstrom during an afternoon Devils-Islanders game. Hockey had me at hello, really.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
SL: As I sort of alluded to, the New Jersey Devils. I love the gritty, versatile members of the glory years of New Jersey hockey. Ken Daneyko holds a big spot in my memory bank, Sergei Brylin, Claude Lemieux. All guys who could do multiple tasks and provide you with valuable ice time.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in hockey as a writer/blogger?
SL: I’ve always wanted to be involved in hockey somehow ever since I realized I wasn’t ever going to be an athlete. I really want to be a play-by-play announcer some day, to be honest, as I feel I’m not a very good writer. Or at least not as good as I think my play-by-play is.
I started getting really into the networking aspect of hockey towards the end of the lockout, and found a Devils fansite where I met a young(er), not yet Puck Daddy’d, Greg Wyshynski. I told him off-hand that I’d love to write, and he asked me to submit. I was 16 at the time, and I’ll never forget Greg for allowing me to write for the ol’ SportsFanMagazine.
PH: What outlets/blogs have you covered hockey for?
SL: Sports Fan Magazine (2005-2007); Battle of New York (2006-2007); Kukla’s Korner (2007-2008); The NHL Arena Program (2008); Puck the Media (2008-Present)
PH: How did you come up with Puck The Media?
SL: Well, I’d been let go from Kukla’s Korner, amicably, and for an entire summer had no idea what to do with myself on the web. I freelanced here and there, and in the fall of ’08, finally took the plunge and go out on my own.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers who visit your blog on a daily basis?
SL: The media news. I feel I bring a real insight into a niche that is either under-covered or, when it is covered, not spoken about with very much knowledge. I feel like MSM hockey writers have about as much knowledge of how TV ratings/TV in general works as mainstream sports columnists know about hockey. I’m all about serving a function, and when I stop serving it better than anyone else can, I’ll quit.
PH: How has your blog grown/evolved since you started it?
SL: Well, it’s been through a few design changes. Started out with a small readership, but now it’s grown to 60,000 pageviews a month. Nothing to scream about, but it’s projecting to nearly a million pageviews by the end of the year, as we’re at 300,000 heading into June. The fact that a 21-year old kid can reach a million is pretty remarkable.
PH: How do you think hockey blogs/podcasts will evolve even further?
SL: Good question. I think we’ll slowly continue to be taken more and more seriously. The NHL recently held a bloggers-only (and some people from The Bleacher Report, who don’t count as anything) conference call, and I hope we see more of that. I think the NHL is serious about what Ted Leonsis calls as “winning the race to the web” and I think bloggers have a lot to do with the NHL’s plan.
PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Hockey Independent?
SL: Not really. Who is a 21-year old to give any advice? Just be yourself and serve a purpose, and be good at the niche you’re filling.
Filed Under: NHL
About the Author: Patrick Hoffman has been a hockey blogger since 2004, having written for Stan Fischler, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, TheHockeyNews.com, HockeyBuzz.com, XM Home Ice Channel Hockey Blog, SNYRangersBlog.com, and MaxHockey.com, among many other hockey outlets/blogs. Feel free to drop him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org