I was brought to PPP back in June to cover the CWHL, and I'm excited to get the opportunity to introduce myself.
My name is Ben Smith, I write with the CWHL as a league writer, as well as HockeyNow Magazine of Metroland Media, and I also serve as site manager for Through It All Together, an SB Nation soccer blog.
Currently I live in Stouffville, Ontario, just half-an-hour north of Toronto. I work with the local radio station called WhiStle Radio - and yes it's an uppercase "S". I host a hockey talk show called... You guessed it: HockeyTalk.
I also serve as colour commentator and occasionally host for the station's live hockey broadcasts.
But the part most don't know about me, at least in the journalism world, is that I'm currently just 15 years old.
I began broadcasting at the age of 12, where after listening to me be the PA announcer for a few local minor hockey teams, the radio station offered me a spot as colour commentator. Let me tell you, I was awful, but after awhile you learn what it takes to be a good broadcaster.
I began writing around that age as well.
It was the 2013 CWHL Clarkson Cup where I got my first big break. I was just there covering the game for fun - my first time in the press box too. It was incredible, and I instantly knew that journalism is what I wanted to do.
The CWHL was fantastic to me. They even wrote an article on me (please ignore the picture, my hair isn't that bad anymore).
I learned a lot in those short few days, and became passionately interested in professional sports journalism.
When I returned to the 2014 Clarkson Cup, they asked me to write a piece on one of the players. It, again, was awful (I think I spelled the prime ministers name wrong), but like I said, after a while you get better, and begin to develop your own voice.
I'm a true believer that age does not matter when it comes to journalism, or anything in life for that matter. We have a 20-year-old site manager here at PPP, he's young, but yet I can't think of anyone who'd do a better job than Scott. I'm a believer that talent isn't measured in age; it's measure in passion, creativity, courage, commitment, and character. It's measured in the willingness to improve and learn, and the drive to pursue and succeed at your craft.
I've been lucky enough that all my friends, teachers, and even my principal have been fully onboard, and supported me throughout the years. Everyday I pinch myself and think "am I really this lucky?"
In the short time I've been in the media world, man I've been lucky. I've had the opportunity to write for numerous online hockey publications, as well as broadcast for various outlets. I've had fantastic mentors, and many instances where I've "been in the right place at the right time."
I've been fortunate to make a number of important connections in the sports broadcasting world, as well as gained a bunch of positive experience in the field. While I'm not here to say I'm the best (I'm far from it), I can promise you I'm going to work hard, and hopefully contribute to this fantastic game we're lucky to call our own.
My favourite writer is Aaron Sorkin. Yes, I love the West Wing (#WWLD, What Would Leo Do?). But I also love the Newsroom.
If I had to model myself after any broadcaster(s), it would be Will McAvoy from the Newsroom, Peter Mansbridge, and Jeff Marek.
My goal is to be the best journalist I can be - nothing more, nothing less. I hope you join me on this ride we call sports journalism, and together we'll do amazing things together.
P.S. Some of my fellow PPP writers have asked me to weigh in on the "is a hot dog a sandwich debate", and my position is no, a hot dog is not a sandwich.