Roundtable: Selecting The Athletic Carolinas Canes’ Beat Reporter
The Athletic has guaranteed the hiring of a Canes Beat writer for their new AthleticRDU OakCityAthletic local/state vertical. However, as of publishing, there is no The Athletic Carolina Hurricanes writer.
The News & Observer‘s Luke DeCock was considered the prime target for the upstart publication. But as Sports Channel 8’s R.L. Bynum mentioned in August that while DeCock would be an excellent hire, him moving to a different publication would actually weaken Canes coverage in the market.
DeCock confirmed two weeks ago he was staying at the N&O. And since then, the upstart online sports publication has expanded to the Carolinas, but largely built for the Charlotte market will all but one hire/staffer based there. They have yet to announce a Hurricanes beat reporter or analysis as we get closer to the start training camp.
With that in mind, we here at 328 think The Athletic‘s best approach to fill the positions is to either hire an established hockey writer from outside the market
Jen Neale. Yes, this might be a little biased seeing how Jen is a friend of the Cheaters Never Win podcast, but I’d love to see Jen get this gig. She has years of experience covering a team (Anaheim), has editing experience via Puck Daddy, and seems to be an all-around good person. She’s wrapped up in the esports world now, and I miss reading her hockey columns.
Not only that, but The Athletic could certainly use more writers who aren’t white guys. Jen would make a great addition to local coverage rather than say, the void that Luke DeCock leaving the N&O would create.
Isabell Khurshudyan, currently of the Washington Post.
I have a short list of people I’d love to see move to the area to take make this beat what ever they’d like it to be:
- Amalie Benjamin, currently of NHL.com and formerly of the Boston Globe.
- Tracey Myers, currently of NHL.com and
formerly of CSN (Now NBCS) Chicago.
- Joe Yerdon, currently of The Athletic, #NotedJerk, and
formerly of NHL.com
- Sarah McLellan, currently of the Star-Tribue (Minneapolis/St. Paul Minn) and
formerly of Arizona Republic.
- Patrick Williams, current AHL correspondent for NHL.com and based in Winnipeg.
- Isabelle Khurshudyan.
In reality, I’m curious about how many people would be interested in relocating to make this happen. Benjamin (Boston), Myers (Chicago) seem pretty tried to their existing markets and have great feature writing gigs with the league. Yerdon joined The Athletic as a Sabres beat reporter this month after several years as a NHL.com correspondent in the same capacity.
McLellan just changed beats and markets before last season so I imagine another change would be tough to manage. Not only is she a fantastic reporter, she respects the underscore twice as much as the average person. Losing Williams from the AHL beat would be our gain, but a huge blow to the hockey community. His potential hire is a bit more conceivable than the others.
Which brings me to Khurshudyan. This [South] Carolina grad just wrapped up her fourth year covering the Washington Capitals. Her coverage of The Caps first Stanley Cup was nothing short of exceptional. Despite the state of the industry the WP seems to be investing in resources for , highlighted by her journey to Moscow for Alex Ovechkin’s Day with the Cup in his home country.
Unfortunately it’s looks like she turned down an opportunity to work for The Athletic for Capitals coverage. The Post is close to announcing it’s own sports subscription service and seems intent on retaining their talented staff members. This makes the likelihood of Khurshudyan changing markets very slim.
It also means there is at least on more market will be hiring someone from out of town. Deadspin’s Laura Wagner reported, as part of The Athletic’s inability to hire Post reporters, more Chicago Tribune Blackhawks report Chris Kuc is most likely to move to D.C. to cover the Cap. One less option for the Carolina market.
If Khurshudyan was interested in a new challenge, a new story to cover after following a team win a championship she’d be a perfect fit. With roots in South Carolina, I would hope Raleigh would be an attractive market for this superstar reporter in the making.
Jashvina Shah, @icehockeystick
I’ve been reading Jashvina’s work via Twitter for a few years now as she covers college hockey. She’s very knowledgeable of the sport, thoughtful, direct, and exactly the sort of person the Athletic should be hiring to bring new voices into NHL journalism. She is passionate about the sport despite its flaws and has never shied away from bringing topics to light. Any publication would be better for hiring her.
Hannah Stuart, @HockeywithHannah, The Score
I always enjoy Hannah’s prospect coverage, and she’s developed a keen eye for both player and sport. I was delighted when Section 328 brought her onto the podcast to talk about the draft, and she had some good insight on Andrei Svechnikov and Ryan Merkley. I would love to see a woman who’s so well versed in covering young hockey players get the chance to watch this crop of youngsters on the Canes roster grow while on the Carolina beat with the Athletic.
The entire Section 328 crew deserves a recommendation here, but I know Hannah and Tom have expressed specific interest in doing this. These two need no introduction. They know the team and the sport like the back of their hand and always bring insight about the players, the game, and the CBA to their work. Hannah has already worked on the UNC hockey beat and done some interviews with Canes players. You’ll find no shortage of word count in Tom’s thorough and thoughtful pieces, as well as a history of Long Island hockey knowledge.