Long before Up The Pucks existed, HockeyPunx was the undisputed source for all things punk rock and hockey. Born in early September of 2009, HockeyPunx was a blog with big aspirations. Dreams of regular news-posts, analysis, interviews, and a general exploration of this strange but fascinating link between punk rock and hockey were just the beginning of what was imagined for the site.
Other ideas were entertained. Some, like a web forum were kids could get together and belittle each other’s tastes in punk music and hockey allegiances were executed with some success. Others, like a podcast discussing punk rock and hockey, were stolen by a rebel faction of visitors to the site, and branched off into its own entity altogether.
Enter Up The Pucks. While KW (of imadethismistake fame) and I were merely kicking the tires of the idea of a punk rock/hockey podcast, discussing primitive plans on our site, some kids that had a lot more drive, a better plan, and much more time on their hands went out and got the job done without us. Peter and Brandon launched Up The Pucks with their very first episode in September 2010.
It didn’t take long for UTP to take off. The podcast medium lent itself to a much more captive audience than the old written word that a simple blog allowed for, and Up The Pucks managed to pick up quite the following. And success begets success: Having a real audience helped UTP net big name guests on their show, like ESPN Insider’s/Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg, or Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski, and having big name guests on their show helped UTP retain a real audience.
For a while, a lazy HockeyPunx and a motivated Up The Pucks were able to coexist. Though the blog medium is certainly not as attractive as a podcast, the archaic written word had a home on the HockeyPunx blog, while fans of the auditory world found comfort in Up The Pucks. But eventually, despite the best efforts of writers like Bryan, HockeyPunx just couldn’t compete. Updates were too infrequent to retain an audience, and in the event there was an actual article posted to the site, it was often half-assed and uninspired.
Soon, HockeyPunx.com simply became a weekly reminder to listen to that week’s episode of Up The Pucks. The blog failed to attract any new writers, and without real content it failed to attract any real audience.
With HockeyPunx barely surviving on life support, Peter informed me a couple months ago of his intentions to add a motivated collection of writers to the Up The Pucks family, and launch a regularly updated UTP blog. With an audience already built in from their podcast sucess, and actual unique and fresh content already in the pipeline, I knew Peter’s plans were the final nail in HockeyPunx.com’s coffin. Today, the revamped Up The Pucks site, blog and all, has been launched.
An idea that HockeyPunx.com attempted to pioneer and innovate has been surpassed by the efforts of its successor. HockeyPunx has become the MySpace to Up The Pucks’ Facebook.
Now, although Peter and Brandon are undeniably two of the biggest dream-killing shitheads that you’ll ever meet, I certainly can’t blame them entirely for the death of HockeyPunx. As mentioned above, content and quality fell dramatically, and I was clearly not motivated enough to even attempt to bring it back to life prior to Peter’s news. Had I invested the time and effort to build an exciting HockeyPunx experience, today’s post might go a little different. Perhaps an announcement of the new incarnation of Up The Pucks that welcomed a new era of corroboration between our two sites. Two different takes on a shared idea. Regrettably, I can’t pretend this to be the reality.
While I do plan to participate in the new Up The Pucks, stopping by occasionally to write an article here and there, perhaps being invited on to future podcast episodes, I cannot say that HockeyPunx can reasonably coexist. There’s simply no room for it in a world where Up The Pucks does everything HockeyPunx was envisioned as doing (and more).
With that in mind, consider this HockeyPunx’s eulogy. It’s been an interesting couple of years, and I’ve made some good friends through the endeavor. I’m excited to see where the legacy of what I created takes Up The Pucks, and I’m excited to be a part of the new version of UTP (even if marginally so).
I’ll leave this post on the main page of the HockeyPunx website for now, and eventually I imagine the domain name will simply redirect to the UpThePucks.com website. I can’t imagine finding a better use for such a domain name, but if for some reason something comes up, perhaps Up The Pucks will keep you up to date on any new endeavors.
With that, I leave you with the best of HockeyPunx. I’m determining the “best of” by a variety of factors, from most read stories to simply my personal taste. They’re posted here in no particular order.
Some of my personal highlights, written by me:
- Reason #379 why Hockey is better than Baseball
- 3 Doors Down: How the NHL got it wrong during All Star Weekend
- Is Going Back to Winnipeg Really All That Wise?
- Dear NHL, Nickelback Sucks.
Everything Bryan ever wrote for us:
- Attitude: the Story of Eddie Shore.
- Humble Magnificent: the story of Jacques Plante.
- The Boy Done Good: the story of Lanny McDonald.
- Raw Power: the story of Gordie Howe.
- White Boy: the herstory of Abby Hoffman.
Submissions from assorted other writers:
- Happy Birthday Wayne: Kevin Smith on Gretzky, Hockey, and Life stolen from Kevin Smith, with intro by Jer
- Affirmative Action for Women in Hockey by Becca
- Thoughts on the Loss of Brendan Burke stolen from Wrap Around Curl, initially without permission
- On Being in an Elevator with Teemu Selanne by Becca