In my 2006 Children’s World Academy yearbook, one can find a photograph of me as a 12-year-old elementary college scholar. Underneath my title, you will note the 2 dream jobs I had at that age. It reads “Journalist/Author.”
I used to be near fulfilling the second job a lot earlier than I spotted (that’s a narrative for one more day). But if it doesn’t finally work out, I assume spending my preteen days writing comedian books primarily based on the unimaginable Captain Underpants sequence with one in every of my childhood finest pals type of counts.
What I can already say is that during the last 5 years since I graduated from college, I’ve been dwelling my dream as a journalist.
Now, within the newest step in my journey with The Athletic, I might be protecting one of the attention-grabbing NHL tales in the mean time: the Calgary Flames. I’m actually excited, and a little bit terrified, all on the similar time. This is the franchise that had one in every of my favorite gamers, Jarome Iginla, set up himself as a Hall of Famer. One of my earliest childhood recollections was following the Flames on their 2004 Stanley Cup Final run and watching video games in my mother and father’ basement.
After years of being within the Montreal Canadiens’ yard and sometimes writing alongside Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin (two of the easiest of our NHL vertical), I get to cowl a workforce with an amazing historical past, a promising current and an intriguing future. That ought to imply no scarcity of tales, materials, anecdotes and evaluation to impart to our readers.
The hockey world was already questioning how the Flames would get well from dropping two faces of their franchise inside every week in July. General supervisor Brad Treliving may have determined that this core wasn’t adequate to compete. Instead, he landed a possible Hart Trophy candidate (relying on who you ask) in Jonathan Huberdeau, a strong top-four defensive choice in MacKenzie Weegar and a Stanley Cup-winning centre coming off his finest season as a professional in Nazem Kadri.
There’s even an argument to be made that the Flames may very well be higher than they have been final season. If full well being is within the playing cards for a participant like Chris Tanev. If Andrew Mangiapane continues to attain on the torrid tempo from final 12 months. If Jacob Markstrom re-emerges from a nightmare second-round sequence he’d wish to overlook. If Huberdeau proves that he doesn’t want Aleksander Barkov to be a real Hart Trophy candidate. If Kadri nonetheless has one other profession 12 months in him. If the Flames proceed to grind opponents down with Darryl Sutter Hockey. It’s all there.
But with an growing older core getting into, or quickly to be exiting, its prime years, the strain to win will intensify. The Flames have been let down by mounting expectations earlier than. Last 12 months’s postseason ought to’ve given us a Battle of Alberta that went the space. Connor McDavid modified that. In 2018-19, the Flames emerged because the league’s second-best common season workforce earlier than dropping in Round 1. The Flames, regardless of the expertise they’ve gathered over the previous few years, haven’t superior to the third spherical since their unimaginable 2004 run. For the sake of fulfilling expectations, that has to alter quickly, they usually’ll should knock off groups like Edmonton, Vegas and reigning champion Colorado to get there, amongst different squads.
My purpose is to uphold the usual set by my colleagues at The Athletic. I need to present high quality, in-depth storytelling in addition to balanced reporting and evaluation. I need to be good at offering the larger image for moments that may appear small to the typical eye. I need to inform good tales about gamers, or individuals who imply lots to the Flames. And sure, we’ll have protection on these former Flames in Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau when the time comes. Above all, I need to present strong, honest reporting on the most important tales revolving round my new residence metropolis’s NHL workforce.
I additionally need to present some reporting on their younger prospects — from bubble roster potentials like Jakob Pelletier and Connor Mackey to others ready within the wings like Dustin Wolf and Matthew Coronato — as effectively, whether or not they’re nonetheless enjoying in junior or with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers, who will even occupy the Scotiabank Saddledome. I hope to hold the torch left by Hailey Salvian and run with it for my Flames protection.
I’m additionally not above writing about enjoyable issues like who the team DJ is, dropping references from famous poet laureates like Shawn Carter, Earl Simmons or Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, and posts that crowdsource what followers are considering. I anticipate lots from myself on this job, however I’m additionally going to do the whole lot I can to nonetheless be myself. That’s necessary.
While I’m right here, the Flames must convey again these black alternate jerseys with Blasty. The streets want it.
This should even be recognized. Contrary to common perception, I’m not a tweet disturber. Please advise.
Not making an attempt to begin something right here, and I’ve no actual difficulty, however I’m genuinely interested by how Senators followers really feel about Brady Tkachuk supporting his brother and being amongst Flames followers like this? https://t.co/uemrpfwy0k
— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) May 19, 2022
Meanwhile, I’ll proceed to host The Chris Johnston Show and Zone Time by means of Yahoo Sports. And on Mondays, I’ll be becoming a member of Ian Mendes on The Athletic Hockey Show! I believe it’s necessary for me to maintain monitor of the league’s pulse and these three exhibits permit me to do this. Plus, if you happen to’re not acquainted with my work, it’s a straightforward option to get to know me!
Covering the Flames is a tremendous alternative. I thank God, my household, pals, colleagues, readers and viewers for supporting me by means of all of it and serving to me get thus far. Thank you a lot. Flames followers and readers, I sit up for working as the town’s latest beat reporter on the workforce. Let’s do that!
(Photo: Brett Holmes / Icon Sportswire)