If you’re a Colorado Avalanche fan and you’re not listening to the Avs Hockey Podcast, then you need to do something about it and get on board.
Jay Vean, creator of the Avs Hockey Podcast, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, the Colorado Avalanche, created the podcast, and the future of hockey blogging and podcasting.
Take it away Jay:
PH: How did you get into hockey?
JV: My Dad has always been a hockey fan. We’ve been going to hockey games together here in Denver for over 25 years. Whether it’s Avalanche, various minor league organizations, or even the original Colorado Rockies, it’s just what we’ve always done. He was even able to sing the National Anthem at a few Rockies and Avalanche games. One of my first, and fondest, memories of hockey is a Rockies/New York Rangers game early in the 80s. This was one of the games where he was singing the National Anthem. Before the game I received a stick from forward Tom Younghans and was fortunate enough to meet and chat for a few minutes with a fairly well-known guy, the Rangers head coach at the time, Olympic hero Herb Brooks. With early memories like that it’s tough to not fall in love with the game. I have also played a bit in the past as well. I definitely appreciate the game on many levels.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
JV: In my younger days, it was definitely the Colorado Rockies. I loved Chico Resch and Lanny McDonald.
With the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup in their first season here in Denver, my favorite player quickly became Joe Sakic. Between my jersey collection and my hockey card collection, he is well represented for sure. Even with Sakic now retired, I’m obviously still a huge Avalanche fan, and that’s the main reason why I began the podcast in the first place.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in hockey as a writer/blogger/podcaster?
JV: I began to listen to The Puck Podcast a few years ago. The hosts of the show, Eddie Garcia and Doug Stolhand, inspired me to begin thinking about doing something that was Avalanche themed for all of the Avs fans who wanted a little more coverage of their favorite NHL team. With the tools for podcasting available through my job, the rest is history.
PH: What outlets/blogs have you covered hockey for?
JV: None really. I’m just a fan with some extra time on my hands to do a podcast every few weeks during the season.
PH: How did you come up with the Avs Hockey Podcast?
JV: Besides the Puck Podcast inspiration, I just started throwing ideas around. There was somewhat of a niche that I wanted to fill for fans. With some help from my co-workers we came up with something that we thought work work pretty well. Three full seasons later I have my own website and I’m still having fun. Not too bad.
PH: What are you trying to bring the listeners of the Avs Hockey Podcast?
JV: As the tagline on my website says, it’s simply “One Fan’s Perspectives on Avalanche Hockey.” I also refer to the show as “Your Home for Almost Everything Avalanche” whenever I get the chance. The show really isn’t too much more than that and that’s on purpose.
I definitely do my best to try and steer away from snobby and controversial comments. I don’t feel it’s my job to demand attention with that type of approach. My goal isn’t to get people to listen for that reason. Shock value never appeals to me in the mainstream media and I keep that in mind with my show.
My goals: I try and teach the new fans of the game a thing or two to watch for as they watch hockey. I want people to appreciate the game as they cheer for their team. That’s what real fans do. I also try and provide a “half full” perspective when it comes to the Avalanche. No matter how bad things are it’s just too plain easy to be negative and pessimistic. Fans already get plenty of that from bloggers and media, so I do my best to balance things out. It’s obviously tougher to do that at some times than others, but I believe there is always something positive to look for in any situation. It’s how I try to live my life, and that comes through clearly in my show.
In keeping that perspective I attract fans that think in a similar way. That’s the most rewarding part about producing the podcast. I have met so many great people through the years. That’s why I decided to do the show in the first place. It has been fun, and as long as it’s still fun I’ll keep doing it.
PH: How has your podcast grown/evolved since you started it?
JV: Things change fairly often on the show, that’s to keep myself and listeners interested. The basic structure has stayed the same throughout though.
The first segment is devoted to breaking down the games since my last show. The second segment covers all the Avalanche related news and notes since my last episode. The third segment focuses on upcoming games and me promoting my “friends of the podcast.”
Throughout the life of the show I have had fan e-mail features, a “Hockey Police” segment where I call out fans that need a little help learning how to be true fans of the game, and I’ve also started each show during the recent past with a jersey number feature. For example, my next show will be my 55th. There have been three players in Avalanche history that have worn number 55. I’ll give a few stats and details on each of those players and deem the show my favorite number 55 in Avs history edition. So, for example, my next show will be the “Cody McLeod Edition of The Avs Hockey Podcast, Your Home for Almost Everything Avalanche.”
I’m a huge jersey collector as well. I have right around 70 Avalanche game worn, game issued and retail authentic jerseys. That’s another passion of mine that I like to share where applicable in the podcast as well.
My other huge switch that happened about five shows ago was a huge upgrade to my audio. James “Tapeleg” Gralian, from “The Rink Podcast”, has been a huge support on many levels of what I do. His feedback and guidance have had a dynamic impact on what my show is today. He heard my show a few years ago, became a fan, and knew that upgrading my microphone would make a huge difference.
He was right, and I have been more excited about the show ever since. I know my listeners appreciate it too. Sound matters and James taught me that. I am happy that our shows and passion have brought us together and am pleased to call him my friend.
PH: You also have a terrific blog that goes with the Podcast. How did you start that?
JV: The blog began with James as well. His expertise has made a huge difference in my web presence as a whole.
I started the show on a free site called Podomatic. That served its purpose for a few seasons, but it then became clear that I needed to upgrade. James helped me get to where I am today with my site. We work together and collaborate to make it great.
Besides posting my show there, as well as on iTunes, I recently began publishing posts about some of the Avalanche game worn jerseys in my collection. I’m banking on the jersey stories to help me pass the time until training camp! Every jersey has a story behind it whether it be a patch, a jersey style, tagging, game use, etc. I share those stories and try to teach my readers about the intricacies of jerseys along the way. It has been enjoyable so far and I think my fans are having a good time with it.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers with your blog?
JV: I haven’t really used my site as a blog much at all so far. My podcast is more like an audio blog than anything, so having a lot of print to go along with my show almost seems redundant in a way. I’d say my Avs Hockey Podcast Facebook page serves as more of a “microblog” for me than anything. It’s where I’ve posted some of the pictures of the jerseys in my collection, images and videos that I capture, updates on many things Avalanche, links to stories that feature the Avs, and more. It’s a great place to keep up with “almost everything Avalanche” between podcasts. I have a devoted group of 120 fans so far and the page has a feel that I like. There’s not a ton that goes on there, but what does go on is respectful and intelligent while still being passionate. That’s the way I like it.
My Twitter feed is also a great place to keep up with most everything I do and think between shows.
PH: How do you think hockey blogs/podcasts will evolve even further?
JV: Evolution equals more in this technological age. That can be positive for sure, and that can also just as easily be totally overwhelming. I follow many Avalanche bloggers, but due to many reasons, very few of them post on a regular basis. I’m always on the lookout for quality fans that share their thoughts about the Avs through blogs.
Podcasting, I don’t know. It’s not a tough as it seems, but it’s also another level of “putting yourself out there.” Typing is one thing, talking with and interacting with people is another thing. It’s not for everyone, but that’s also why I enjoy it so much.
There will be more blogs and podcasts in the future, but it’s always tough to predict the quality. We will see.
PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Hockey Independent?
JV: Just cheer for your team. Follow them with a passion, win or lose. Find media, as well as bloggers and podcasters, that continue to develop your passion for your team. Don’t settle for anything less. And if your team is lacking a voice (almost literally in my case), do it yourself. You never know where things may go from there.
Be a fan of your team, but also be a huge fan of this great game of hockey too. If you’ve never played or skated, get out there and give it a try. It will help you appreciate the game and your favorite players that much more.
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