Time for the Avalanche to Open Up

Today on twitter, I went on a bit of a rant.  And hey, that’s what twitter is there for at times, a bit of a rant. But once you get to around 10 tweets on the same topic, it’s time to close twitter for a minute and open up the old blogging software, dusty though it may be.

I read yet another sour-puss post in the Denver Post today, which I usually avoid at all costs.

Aside – I want you to think about that for a moment.  I’m a  fan of the Colorado Avalanche, and we have one newspaper in town.  And I try to avoid reading it because of the content.  One source with press credentials, and I TRY not to read it.  Isn’t that kind of telling?

There were parts of the post that bugged me, but none more than this:

When push came to shove, the Avs couldn’t win the big ones – again. It was right there for them: two out of three wins against Phoenix, Vancouver and San Jose, and they would have been in good shape for the playoffs. But they got one out of six possible points. Let’s face it, the Avs choked away a win the other day against Vancouver, the one game that stood out to me as proving these guys still aren’t ready for prime time yet.

The number one thing that bugged me was not the word ‘choked,’ but the word ‘again.’  Yes, again the Avalanche were not good enough to make the post season (most likely, as there is the mathematical possibility that they could sneak in).  It isn’t the gloom and doom of that word or that sentence that bugs me.  It’s that we have seen this before.  We have seen this perspective over and over.  It’s copy / paste every few games.

It isn’t that the Denver Post (and to be honest about it, Adrian Dater, the most visual of the Post writers) needs to be fans of the team.  That isn’t their job, and isn’t the way their writing should be structured.  But at this point, the emo message is that you are a fool to think this team was anything but losers.  You would be a mook to be a fan of this team.  And it was all inevitable, and is going to continue.

The Post needs to do it’s job, and that is report the news.  And they need to be given the leeway to state their opinions in the appropriate places.  It isn’t that the Post needs to conform to us, the fans.  But we don’t need to conform to their output either.

The overall issue here is a lack of choice on the part of the fans.  The Denver Post is the only credentialed media outlet that consistently puts out Avalanche material.  They don’t have to do anything other than what they are doing, because they aren’t pushed to do so.  They are the only game in town, and that’s the choice made by the Avalanche themselves.  The Avs are traditionally very closed off to the media.

But tradition has a way of falling when confronted with new successes, and as the blogoshphere has proven, success is available.  Examples like the Capitals, Predators, and Islanders have shown that bloggers can be healthy additions to the media availability.  They can provide what the papers can’t, won’t or don’t have time for.  They can be a positive addition to the ranks of the press box.  And now, more than ever, it’s time.

This summer, I’m asking for an Avs blogger summit.  A meeting of the bloggers who want to be granted credentials or given access to the Avalanche.  This would be an initial first step in collectively seeking to work with the Avalanche to get in the door.  I’m asking for this in the spirit of inclusiveness, to get many perspectives.

This will not be an overnight process.  Bloggers of many stripes have been around for years waiting for the opportunity.  But if the mountain won’t come to us, it’s time for us to go to the mountain.

If you’re interested, please let me know in the “contact me” link up above, or click here.  Lets do this.


  1. I’m a Leafs fan and I feel your pain. Only instead of only one newspaper like this, we have four. Each with multiple writers dedicated to the team.

    Good luck getting more perspective on your team. With less coverage I think you guys have a chance. The problem is, even with more “choice” you aren’t guaranteed on any more insight. Increased volume doesn’t always equal quality. But as a fellow frustrated fan, I wish you success.

    • Karina – I understand what you mean with regards to more choice. Sadly, our choices are either the credentialed media, or the uncredentialed. Our media market for hockey here is much smaller than anywhere in Canada. In Denver, our football market is closer to your hockey market. So anything more is going to be better in the end. But you make a good point. At this point, hopefully we can put a little bit of that into our own hands. :)

  2. I can only hope you can turn your situation around for the sake of the great Avs fans. Can’t management see all the benefits of embracing and supporting the online community? Nearly every other franchise understands the ways of the digital 21st Century, and how relatively cheap and easy it is to harness fan support through blogs and forums.

    Although, I guess I do kinda take that for granted. As a native LIer and lifelong fan of the Isles, I was initially surprised to see the Isles embrace the many blogs, bloggers, and online participants commenting on the teams highs and lows over the last few years (ok, so it’s mostly been deep lows). But, the Islanders management saw a way to increase coverage, build fanbase support, and improve their high tech presence away from our largely single-beat reporter coverage at NY Newsday (which, in a fabulous twist, is owned by the folks that also own our big crosstown rival) at minimal cost. Since Dolan bought Newsday a few years back, their stellar sports coverage (Isles and others) have defected to better markets, and now the Isles beat feels a bit like a purgatory.

    Aside from organized platforms to b*tch and whine about our often nutso team management, our blogs promote the team and bind their fanbase, and a little team support in terms of access and acknowledgement pays very steep dividends. I hope that Avs management realizes that, for the sake of the fan and the team at large. Best of luck!

  3. Two thoughts on this:

    1) Good luck on getting accreditation for bloggers. From what I understand, it was Colorado which led the charge to restrict credentialed bloggers in various cities from having access to visiting teams.

    2) What would media credentials do for bloggers that would truly enhance their ability to counter what you see as failings of the Denver Post? Do they really need ‘we need to work hard and take it one game at a time” quotes to do that?

    • Dirk, regarding your second question: Having credentials makes a HUGE difference. As a writer at a credentialed Capitals blog for the past five years, I can state with certainty that the opportunity to talk directly with players provides invaluable opportunities for additional insight. Sure, in the locker room it’s often predominantly “one game at a time” quotes.

      But plenty of times after games, at practices, at non-hockey events (e.g., school visits, charity functions), credentialed New Media writers use that access to provide coverage that complements the MSM outlets like local newspapers. It benefits the team by generating more discussion and more fan excitement too.

      Sure, there must be standards, and the Capitals do a good job of making sure those granted access conduct themselves professionally and don’t abuse the privilege. Done correctly, credentialing new media is a win for the team, the fans, and the bloggers.

  4. Dude, you sound like a whiny little brat when you say stuff like this. Dater called it like he sees it, and I think he called it correctly. You state “The Post needs to do it’s job, and that is report the news. And they need to be given the leeway to state their opinions in the appropriate places.” But this article that bunched your panties was the EXACT appropriate place for it, a BLOG; not a NEWS article, but a BLOG.
    You state “But at this point, the emo message is that you are a fool to think this team was anything but losers.” That’s your interpretation of what Dater was saying. Yeah, they choked, again. You, probably being all bummed out about last night’s implosion (as I was too), inferred that Dater was calling you a “mook”.
    Also, I think Dater does an excellent job both reporting the facts (in the NEWS stories) and giving his personal insight (on the BLOG). Chambers, there’s your boring news dude. Dater is a fire-breather, willing to say what he believes regardless of whether it will piss people/fans off (see ESPN rant, totally awesome and accurate IMO). I think we’re pretty lucky to have someone of his caliber (professionally and personally) writing for the only news source in town.
    To the broader point you make in this post, I agree that there should be blogger access to the Avs. But that place is run like the freaking KGB circa 1975. Good luck on your round table man…

    • Fletch – I don’t agree with your characterization of me as being a whiny bitch, or getting my panties in a bunch.

      But thanks for the encouragement. It’s appreciated.

  5. Phillip Harben says:

    Good luck to you Tapeleg. I think that bloggers who strive to be professional and fact-driven could be a real asset to any team or organisation. There are dozens of occasions where a blogger could cover things in more depth than the MSM and the crazy thing is that they don’t get paid! They do it for the love of the team or game.

    Quite what the Avalanche organisation is scared of is unclear. I thought the point of PR (and that’s essentially what it is) is that you get the product noticed. As an organisation, how can you possibly put all your eggs in one MSM basket? Why wouldn’t you want an army of intelligent, creative people working for you, for free?

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