When I first interviewed to become PPP’s managing editor, I was a little apprehensive about the position. I kind of resented what PPP was at the time — the thunderdome, the antagonism.
But I wanted the position badly. I wanted it because I desperately wanted a challenge and a project, but also because I wanted to get a head start on a career in journalism. And I told Travis Hughes, our resident boss here at SB Nation, as much throughout the process. And Travis believed in 19-year-old me (which meant the world).
In the three years since, I have grown to love PPP more than I could have imagined. Underneath the thunderdome, I quickly learned, is a community unlike any other in the hockey world, filled with people who are intelligent, progressive, kind, and open to being challenged. Our core readership is quirky, and diverse, and perfect.
PPP has been one of the best things in my life. The staff has changed, almost completely (JP, Species, Seldo, Acha, and Katie preceded me), and they have challenged me as a writer and as a person — I mean that as sincerely as I can. And the community has too. I have tried to listen and learn. I have done a lot of the latter, and hopefully an OK job of the former.
PPP has given me opportunities to write content and stories I am fiercely proud of. And the staff has produced content I am even more proud of. On the social side of our coverage of the last three years, I know the women of PPP changed (at least some) hearts and minds. Their coverage was nuanced, careful, brave and full of truth, and it is the best work we’ve ever produced here.
On the career side, PPP gave me the chance to build relationships and network. Without PPP, I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to work for the National Post and Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail (where I just finished my last day on Friday), or the PGA TOUR. I probably wouldn’t have been published as an author for the first time in The Hockey News’ latest book, either. I certainly wouldn’t have been sitting next to James Mirtle in the press box at the Centennial Classic when we first began discussing my joining The Athletic.
And for that, I owe this crazy monster of a site everything.
But all good things must come to an end. On June 5, I’ll be joining the Toronto Star as a summer reporter. And that means giving up my other commitments, PPP included.
This time around, though, there didn’t need to be a search for a new managing editor. When I told Travis I had to leave a few weeks ago, there was a obvious natural choice for my replacement. For anyone on staff, and for those who follow the site closely, it was clear.
And so, on June 1, Katya Knappe will take over as PPP’s managing editor. In the last year, nobody has worked harder than Katya not only to produce quality content — often multiple times a day — but also to manage the staff, the scheduling, and the editing.
She won’t be alone, either. The PPP matriarchy continues.
When a busy summer slows down, Achariya will also join Katya in a more senior position as a pseudo co-managing editor (she says she wants her title to be “Kitten Wrangler”). Achariya has been (outside my real life inner circle) my biggest supporter, teacher, and advocate since she joined. She is unquestionably one of the nicest people in this online hockey universe.
In their hands, PPP will become an even better version of itself with familiar, capable people at the helm. I can’t wait to see where they take it.
And I’m not leaving yet. I still have a month before I begin my new position at the Star and now that I’m done at the Globe, PPP and The Athletic will be my sole focuses. I’ll be back at Ricoh Coliseum on Tuesday for Game 3 of the Marlies’ second round series with the Crunch. The day after Katya takes over, I’ll be heading to Buffalo (again) for the NHL Draft Combine for two days of final coverage for PPP as a sort of last hurrah. We’re going to try and make May a special month at the site and I’ll be ramping up my draft coverage all month long.
I hope you’ll continue to follow me on this crazy journey. I’ll be reading and lingering in the comment section forever.
Bye for now, POP.