COMMENTARY: Rachel Huston's top five highlights covering Wildcat hockey
It’s now been a few weeks since Arizona’s hockey season was cut short by No. 1 Minot State in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament, so now the waters have calmed, I’ve been able to assemble my thoughts on a season that seems like a distant memory.
My first ever beat will go down as the 2017–18 Wildcat hockey team, and it was the best choice I could have made. While the team and several players had career performances, there were things happening off the ice that made my experience more meaningful than just those events alone.
Of all the events that took place this season, I narrowed them down to my top-five favorite memories of the as the beat writer.
5. Being the only writer on the beat
For most every other beat on the desk, there were two writers — except for hockey. It was just me.
Knowing there was no one else to cover the team gave me motivation and a boost in my step when covering it. Having the majority of bylines in the hockey section of the site was, for a lack of a better phrase, really cool. I was the expert on the team
I had some fellow writers on the desk (Cory Kennedy and Max Cohen) help out on game days, which made coverage on those days absolutely incredible, but with their own beats to carry, hockey was my baby. I could shape and mold that beat into what it needed and that was an amazing feeling.
4. Publishing an Adobe Spark on stats
I’ll hardly ever admit it, even though it’s quite obvious, but numbers interest me. Especially in a field like sports, where there’s so much room for speculation, numbers can save the day.
My favorite piece to write while on the desk was a piece about faceoffs and shots in the December series against ASU presented in an Adobe Spark format. It was the start of me growing into the stat geek I always believed I would become.
Having the opportunity with The Daily Wildcat to post something that explains stats in a creative way was something I am very grateful for.
3. Goalie fight
Set aside the fact that I got to see an illusive goalie fight, and focus on the fact that the incident was one picked up by international news sites.
I remember when one of my friends texted me a link to an Instagram video from Canada’s TSN. The video was my video of the tilt, and it had over 100,000 views. At this point, it’s nearly broken 250,000.
I can’t believe the audacity of TSN to not offer me a job after producing content that got more views than Maple Leafs content. I’m joking of course, but it still makes my top moments on the beat.
2. Traveling to Oceanside and AZ Ice Peoria
This season for me was about learning where I belonged covering the hockey world. The trips I took to Phoenix, covering the team close up, were prime examples of learning college hockey is where I want to be.
These two rinks were unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I’ve been in the middle of the United Center crowds, cheering on the Blackhawks, but even that didn’t compare to the feeling I got when I stood by the boards, bundled up in AZ Ice and Oceanside.
That feeling of being one of a couple hundred there for the game was magical. There’s no words to describe the feeling you get when you can sit in the stands of an arena with a stat sheet in your hand and imagine yourself doing that for the rest of your life.
1. Making a difference
As a journalist, not much feels better than recognition; as the writer for a small beat, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon that.
As someone trying to find their way into the operations side of hockey, that was something that made me smile.
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