New Year, New M&G: A Goodbye of Sorts

Bruce Bennett

The life of a sports blogger is one that is envied by some and put down by many.

We make a meagre existence in our mother's basements, typing in our underwear with potato chip seasoning coating our fingers and our keyboards, writing poorly spelled posts about the latest ridiculous trade rumour that has Sidney Crosby being sent to the Flames for Lee Stempniak and Lance Bouma.

Or, alternatively, there are the few of us who are actually awarded a regular press pass and make a living out of covering their favourite team's every move, something that is the envy and dream of many bloggers starting out on their own sites and trying to gain traction in the massive world that is the Internet.

I was lucky enough to be one of those bloggers whose small, self-started site gained enough attention from the people in the Saddlesphere and here at SBN that I was brought on board here to manage M&G and attempt to fill the void left by the extraordinary Kent Wilson. When I first started here, I also possessed the vision of my future described above. Newly enrolled in journalism school and with a passion for hockey and the Flames that sometimes seemed to take over my life, I couldn't imagine anything better than being paid to write about my favourite team, and was ecstatic about the opportunity to write here and manage this blog. Having never taken on a task of this magnitude before, I was certainly in over my head, but thanks to the mentorship of my fellow bloggers and long-time commenters, I soon began to feel comfortable and build a routine and a readership of my own, putting my stamp on the site.

However, over time I began to realize the negatives that come along with blogging about your favourite team. The year I started here was the first season the Flames had missed the playoffs since 2002-03, and ostensibly, what should have been the start of the rebuild. Later that year, Darryl Sutter was fired, and changes were surely afoot in Flames Nation.

Starting school in Ontario, I found it increasingly difficult to continue writing in a way that was compatible with my class schedule, and keeping up with time change which meant Flames games here started and ended later. Writing a preview, a game thread and a recap of the game as well as watching the game is a task that takes a significant chunk of time out of one's day, time that should be used for doing school work, when you're a student such as myself, especially a student in their final year of university.

The Flames' ongoing troubles in the non-rebuild they were enduring under Jay Feaster, where they would subsequently miss the playoffs for the next three seasons and bid farewell to long-time captain Jarome Iginla, as well as the lockout, some questionable trades and objectionable draft choices have combined to significantly reduce my level of passion for this team and for writing about them. Nowadays when the Flames fail to acquire sufficient return in a trade or when Brian Burke spouts off about grit and truculence, I find that the Internet is one of the last places I want to turn to, which is obviously problematic for someone who manages a site about the team. Eventually I was forced to face the fact that I had succumbed to the burnout that claims so many who blog about the team that stole their hearts so long ago.

On that note, I regret to announce that I'll be stepping down as the managing editor at M&G.

The first thing I want to do is apologize for that and say thank you to the readers who stuck around despite the lack of content. You are what kept me going on those days when I was running on empty and I'm very sorry to have disappointed you.

I also want to say thank you to all of you who have contributed to this site over the course of the nearly four years that I've been here. To Kent Wilson and Robert Cleave who helped me get started and provided an invaluable education on blogging as well as advanced stats, which were totally new to me when I first started here. To Arik Knapp, who also managed the site and took on the brunt of the work in the 2011-12 season, an incredibly frustrating season in which I found it especially tough to keep up with my work here at M&G and for which he deserves a lot of credit. To Justin Azevedo, who did such a good job of putting the emotions we were all feeling into words and uniting us all in explicit anger, frustration and sadness as well as unadulterated happiness.

To Mitch Smith, Ryan Popilchak, BookofLoob, Scott Lepp and most recently Ari Yanover--thank you, I couldn't have done any of this without you. To the commenters who kept this site alive for so long, I won't name you out of fear of excluding anyone, but I think you know who you are--thank you, you were all crucial to building the sense of community we enjoyed here and getting to know you both online and offline has been one of the many perks of blogging about this team that I've enjoyed so much.

Last but not least, to Travis Hughes and Tyler Bleszinski, who brought me on here and provided me with endless patience and tutelage over the years. Thank you both for having faith in me and for doing the work required every day to keep this network running at top speed. Giving me the opportunity to attend the Heritage Classic in Calgary as a credentialed member of the media is something that I am particularly thankful for and will never forget. Thank you as well to the rest of the bloggers here at SBN who made this experience such an enjoyable one.

While I will be staying on as a semi-frequent contributor to M&G, I'd like to welcome the man who will be taking over here as managing editor, Kevin Kraczkowski, who was previously at SBN's Florida Panthers Blog, Litter Box Cats. Kevin will introduce himself to you in further detail, I'm sure, but he is here to provide some much needed organization to the site and ensure that the production of quality and frequent content resumes here at M&G, so please do get to know him. I know you will all make him feel welcome just as you did for me!

I'd also like to welcome Ruhee Dewji, who has previously blogged at Book of Loob. Ruhee is a life-long Flames fan from Calgary who now lives in Toronto, and is also a baseball fan who writes prolifically about the sport. I'm already taking up far too much space with this post so I'm sure she will also introduce herself in further detail, but she is a great writer and an all-around cool girl and I'm confident you will all love reading her work and having her around.

Ari, myself and Scott will still be around, and we are also looking to add to our editorial staff, so if you're interested in joining us, please shoot Kevin an email, and as always, feel free to contact me for any reason whatsoever.

Cheers everybody, it's been real.

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