2017-18 is in the books. The Washington Capitals are your Stanley Cup Champions. The Colorado Eagles secured back-to-back Kelly Cup crowns before they will elevate up to the American Hockey League in 2018-19 as the new affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. And last night the Toronto Marlies defeated the Texas Stars to earn the first Calder Cup in their franchise’s history. Across the board, NHL/AHL/ECHL, this may have been the most thrilling playoff season in the sport’s history.
“What happens next,” you ask.
In the past this was a question with a simple answer and a mapped out off-season guide. The NHL Awards aren’t that far away. That’s followed by the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. Before you know it there is Nashville Predators Development Camp and the start of NHL Free Agency. Yet what happens next in regards to Admirals Roundtable is an answer that is no longer clear.
I am a big believer in honesty. So I will be as open and transparent with the news that took place this past Monday as I can be.
Admirals Roundtable has been a fan blog backed by the Milwaukee Admirals. It was created and operated by Ryan Miller with an aim of having fun and giving fans a place to go and banter about their local professional hockey team. I had finished the 2012-13 season as a communications intern with the Milwaukee Admirals and it coincided with Ryan becoming a first-time dad and looking to move on with the website. If I wasn’t around, or willing to take on the role at that time, Admirals Roundtable would have died five-years ago.
From the moment Admirals Roundtable was first offered to me by Milwaukee Admirals VP/Communications, Charlie Larson, I was fully aware that there was next to no money in it. The real satisfaction would come from the work itself.
In the five-seasons I have had as Editor-in-Chief of Admirals Roundtable I can say that there was nothing I wanted to do more than this. I was chasing my dream and, like the communications internship out of college, it was an opportunity to make my dream of working in sports become a reality. This chase became my full-time job. The hunt of working in the sports industry, which so often times means working for nothing until you find or make a break for yourself, was my life from the moment I started writing for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s student newspaper. I’ve never stopped trying to improve. I’ve never stopped believing in myself. But time is cruel and optimism can erode.
These last two seasons have been incredibly difficult for myself. It has been a battle between the hope and passion that I have of making an impossible dream exist versus the painful reality of reality. I do not have the financial means to support myself and haven’t this entire time. This was the path that I chose to walk. I knew it going in and I know it now. If I was going to be who I wanted to become this was the opportunity to grow. I have and have for the better. But as seasons come and go, as players arrive and depart, and as teams uproot and move or completely dissolve: my calling for one chance and hope for that one job has been answered by nothing louder than silence and the passage of time.
This past Monday the Milwaukee Admirals informed me that Admirals Roundtable will no longer receive the funding that has kept it and myself going strong. The path that I put myself on has stopped.
“What happens next,” is a question that looks back at me with cold eyes and kills me every single time I keep asking it in my head. I have been privileged to be around the Milwaukee Admirals these last six-years. I am so fortunate for every single person that I have met and so incredibly proud of the work that I have been able to accomplish. The man that I am today is better because of the experiences that I have had through Admirals Roundtable. I have loved this like nothing else and every part of me wants to find a way to see this dream stay alive. I just do not have an answer as to how it can.
I have had Development Camp in Nashville at month’s end circled on my calendar for awhile now. Nashville has always delivered, always. It’s become a place that reminds me of how not alone I really am and of the warmth and kindness the hockey community provides. I need every ounce of that right now and I will be there.
Until that time, my thanks to you -the Admirals Roundtable audience- cannot be stated enough. The “Roundtable” has had a seat for all of us, you and I, but you have been the driving force in keeping discussions going and making this so much fun to be able to do and keep doing. There are so many individuals who I haven’t even had the chance to meet in-person and I love them for contributing to the growth of this website and my journey as a person. You reading this now have made my life better. And I can’t thank you enough for that.