I’ve always enjoyed writing.
Back in the high school days (late 70s), one of my English teachers required her students to write a two-page journal every week. We could write about any subject that we wanted to—within reason—and I never had a problem filling both sides of the ripped-out notebook page.
I wrote about my favorite camping spot (Hatfield, WI), my favorite band (Kansas), and even wrote two pages about aliens from the planet ‘Szfyhltz.’ Haha…
My teacher signed my yearbook, stating that she was ‘looking forward to my first book.’
Well, I never got that far, but I have written a few hundred pages on high school hockey in the last twenty years.
I sent an email to a guy named Oakie Brumm (google him if you want to read about a ‘character’) before the 2000-01 hockey season, responding to an ad in his newspaper (Wisconsin Hockey News) looking for writers. Hey, I can do that…
So, I attended a few games and had a regular column (‘Voices from the Valley’) covering players in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. I had a Q&A with a goalie from Antigo by the name of Bob Berg, and I think that’s how my name popped into Bill Berg’s head when he decided he wanted to start a HS hockey website.
After a brief legal spat with my previous employer, Bergler and I started the Wisconsin Hockey Network in October 2001.
The first few years, our coverage was sparse. I don’t remember much about those days, except for the fact that our website was mostly text-based and was roughly equivalent, compared to today, like Fred Flintstone chiseling words onto a stone tablet.
Over the next few years MJ Hammett, Del Scanlon, and Web Junior joined our merry band and in my humble opinion, made Wisconsin Prep Hockey one of the finest high school sports websites in the United States.
We have covered games in almost every rink in Wisconsin, plus a few in Illinois and Minnesota. WiPH has been a fixture in Madison covering the state tournament since 2002, and hopefully will be there again in 2021, but as we all know, that is dependent on this Covid thing.
2020 has been a challenge for everyone, and together with the Covid virus and the uncertainty of the fall and winter sports seasons, I just am not getting psyched up for the hockey season like I normally do. And I decided that if my ‘labor of love’ ever became a ‘job,’ I was going to call it quits.
That’s kinda where it is at right now.
I am totally fed up with pro sports, now that they care more about kneeling and lecturing us on social injustice than they do playing the sport many of them make millions of dollars doing. Just shut up and play.
Since I haven’t watched or listened to a single Brewers game, and don’t plan on watching the Packers, I will have lots of free time. I have completed six woodworking projects in the last year and enjoy doing those. Now I just need to insulate my garage, so my heater doesn’t have to work so hard!
My wife has mixed feelings about my retirement because she knows how much WiPH has meant to me. But in the end, she said, it was my call.
More family time and a Florida vacation in January is on the immediate horizon, so I won’t have to beg Bergler for a couple weeks off in the middle of the hockey season.
In closing, thanks to my partners for nearly two decades of hockey coverage excellence, thanks to my family for putting up with me being gone half the winter, and thanks to you, Constant Reader, for following us and making us the best HS hockey website in the world.
Maybe I’ll see you at the rink someday!