Five years, 1,825 days, 2.628 million minutes, and counting of working hard to bring you the latest minor league hockey news. The ride has been incredible, the work intense, but rewarding, and it has never stopped being fun.
It all started in Independence, Missouri one Saturday night in early 2015 with Joe Rozycki and I drinking and bowling. Now, usually, such a night would lead to bad decisions being made, but through the conversations we had, I couldn’t mistake the passion we had for elevating the sport we loved to the masses. It was our vision and belief that some of the best stories (human-interest and hockey-wise) lived outside of the flickering spotlight of the NHL. Add into the mix a great webmaster and friend in Matt Thomas, and The Sin Bin emerged on the scene as an international brand.
What the three of us didn’t see coming when we launched the site was the immense amount of talent that has — or will — gone on to do great things. Here are just a few examples: Dakota Johnson has taken his passion and knowledge for the sport and paid it forward, coaching young kids and helping build the sport in southwest Ohio. Scotty Wazz is using his well-established platform to help his home state Maryland Black Bears gain exposure in the North American Hockey League. Former Cincinnati Cyclones writer Kristen Wooten is finishing up her training to become a personal trainer in Chicago. Samantha Hoffmann is now part of the social media team with Bauer Hockey and former Indy Fuel beat writer, Mark Grainda, is the Communications Director for the Indy Fuel. Currently, on our staff, photographer Bernie Walls has a great eye for the perfect shot, and Matthew Will has a tremendous work ethic, great passion for the sport and is a name you’ll be seeing and hearing sooner rather than later. If it were to all go away tomorrow, the talented people and our ability to leave a small, but indelible mark on the hockey world is something I’ll never forget.
We’ve had a tremendous amount of success over our first five years. We started with seven people covering primarily ECHL markets, and we sit here today with a team of over 40 writers and photographers that are dedicated to bringing you the story of minor league hockey. Over 3.5 million people have visited our site, there have been more than 3,000 downloads of The Sin Bin app, and we have an impressive footprint on social media. The work we’ve produced has been picked up by ESPN, NBC Sports, Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Yahoo! Sports. Additionally, our team has been in championship locker rooms in every league, covered the ECHL All-Star Classic for three straight years (including broadcasting the game this season), had hockey games aired live on our app, and developed league and corporate partnerships to engage fans in the SPHL who currently do not have an All-Star Game. While this may be a drop in the bucket to some, all of these accomplishments are a tremendous source of pride for us, for it reinforces the vision that we had for the site; be engaging with our fans through producing great content, develop solid relationships, and have fun but don’t take yourself too seriously.
Sure, there have been some bumps in the road, and we knew that would happen, but we’re constantly working to learn from our mistakes and ensure they won’t happen again. Our team values each piece of criticism – good or bad – as a way of improving. This year has been trying for us as an organization, but I am a firm believer that the best days of this website still lie ahead and when we get to work, there isn’t anyone in the field who can mobilize and do a great job. Thank you to our incredible team of writers, photographers, and our statistician who so generously grace our site with their unending passion for the game of hockey on a daily basis. Thank you to our colleagues in the media world who have reached out to us with feedback, criticisms where necessary, and advice to help us become a better team. Thank you to the players, front offices, and coaches who have always made time for our stories and features.
But most importantly, thank you to all of you, the readers and fans of this incredible game. We hope you enjoy the work we produce and that perhaps we’ve opened your eyes to something you didn’t know before. We learn new things every day about the sport and when we do, it is our hope and expectation to pass that along to you, with a little bit of flair and personality thrown in.
So with that being said, the first five years of TheSinBin.net were pretty incredible for us and I promise you all that the next five years will only be that much better. Cheers!
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