Hammy just too busy or got tired of the grind?
Greyeagle pointed me here so I will indulge since I don’t want misinformation. I can assure you it had nothing to do with the Big Ten conference.
I actually figured this might come up the next time I’m on the podcast (I’ll probably make a guest appearance some time next season)… but it’s mainly a combination of increased job responsibilities (which made it more difficult for me to consistently be on the podcast), a desire to shift priorities, and just a general feeling that I’ve contributed “enough” over the years.
I had been consistently contributing to college hockey message boards all the way back to the early 90s… back in the days when almost everybody used AOL, Prodigy, etc. to get online. The days of dial up 14.4K or 28.8K… That’s creeping up on almost 30 years ago! AOL had sports boards back then (including a college hockey board which was sporadically used). In fact, the only college fan that I specifically remember also posting on those AOL boards was Randy May (the CC fan who eventually started up their message board). He and I used to argue on there big time back then since those were the days Lucia had CC at the top of their game and Wooger had some big time teams too.
I remember talking to Lucia at his first Model Camp when he was still getting his bearings. I remember being at the season opening press conference of the year when we (finally) won our title (2002 team). I think I went to help out the Gopher Hole that day (when Jason Groth ran the site). I remember talking to freshman Keith Ballard outside of the locker room after the press conference. I remember talking to Kessel at Mariucci at the Model Camp before his season at the U (his younger brother was in the camp). So many other stories over the years… it’s funny when your have Gopher coaches calling you by your online nickname versus your real name. But they used to view the message boards at times too. Even if they didn’t always want to admit it.
Of course, the most fun was all the years on “Pride On Ice” (the golden years… no pun intended… of Gopher Hockey online fandom). There was something fresh and almost “magical” about the group of people who consistently contributed to POI. Maybe it was because the internet and message boards still felt pretty fresh/new. It was truly the first “team specific” college hockey message board and the cast of characters was pretty interesting. I will probably remember various POI posters (or more specifically their monikers) for the rest of my life. We loved the program… and while we had some major debates at times, we felt like family in the end. We all wanted the same thing and there was genuine vibe. Even the occasional fans from other programs who came to argue were relatively innocuous in the grand scheme of things. GPL has been great… but POI was an “odd” family.
All of the above mixed in with GPL and other boards around the internet over those years (early USCHO was pretty good, etc)…
Quite honestly, the only major reason I posted as much as I did (at least in the 90s and into the early 2000s) was because there was a major void that needed to be filled regarding college hockey recruiting. Especially regarding kids in our state. Back then, the only recruiting stuff being discussed in any major media format was either on TV at the state tournament or in the Star Tribune (who usually reported on a commitment about two to three weeks after I knew it had happened). I was blessed to have built up contacts (including the coaches) and I knew I could contribute in an area that wasn’t being given enough attention. We always joked that as soon as something was posted of POI, it would be in the Star Tribune a day or two later… including Sid’s column. Ahh the good old days…
I still lurk once in a while but I have to admit it is relatively uncommon compared to the past. I am sure I will drop in a post here or there…. and I will always care about the program and want the best for it
However, I just want to use a lot more time on activities other than posting.
I always appreciated the insight you shared around recruiting.