If there’s anything you can count on a Trenton hockey team to do, it’s miss the playoffs. So I fully expected to be able to just jump into my coverage of the Somerset Patriots and Trenton Thunder this season and not expect there to be any hockey coverage getting in the way.
The Titans actually went well out of their way for me this year, turning in a season that had statistically had them as the worst team in the ECHL. But you’re here for the Thunder, so you don’t care.
What you should care about, then…is an opportunity to cover the Stanley Cup Playoffs came along. Anyone who knows me at all knows that hockey is my favorite sport. Isn’t close, really. Not to disservice my baseball readers or my own baseball acumen, but hockey is where my passion truly is. So there was no passing on this.
For the first two rounds, I worked exclusively for ECHL.com, covering only the games in Newark. In the Eastern Conference Finals, I was very fortunate to cover all six games — both in the Prudential Center and Madison Square Garden — for The Trentonian. And now, I get to cover my very first Stanley Cup Finals. I cannot even begin to tell you what an amazing experience this has been, and the first game hasn’t even started yet. To be able to interview people I idolized growing up and to have a chance to cover what is, in my mind, the biggest sporting event there is…I cannot tell you what this has meant to me and how happy I am.
You can see my stuff in The Trentonian, as well as The Los Angeles Daily News…and those stories will get picked up in other smaller California papers like the Long Beach Express Telegram, etc. But, back to my point…that’s a long way of saying that my focus hasn’t been where I thought it would be at this time of year.
Truth is, I’m 29 and haven’t moved up as much as I would assume everyone thinks since I started doing this ten years ago. This is a huge opportunity for me to maybe get a chance to do something bigger — I’m never been full-time anywhere, just freelance — and my focus absolutely needs to be on hockey right now. That is not to say that I am ignoring my current beats or have any thoughts of leaving them behind at this time.
In fact, I will be covering the Thunder tomorrow night for The Trentonian. So, for those of you sick of my byline in there lately…tough luck. But, for those of you who have always been behind me and supported me and inexplicably followed me wherever my career has taken me, thank you for understanding. I felt I owed you all an honest explanation as to why I haven’t been better here lately, and will do my best to…well, do my best once this is all over with.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com