Your first question should be, “Who the hell are you?” You already know, but I’ll start at the beginning and tell the whole story.
I was a hockey fan as a child, and that lasted deep into adulthood where hockey lived alongside tennis as my favourite thing on TV. Eventually as a teenager, I lost interest. The late seventies and early eighties were not good years for hockey.
Suddenly one day, hockey was big news because Wayne Gretzky had been traded to LA, and I was intrigued enough to watch the first Kings game that came on TV – Jari Kurri became my favourite, followed in due time by Luc Robitaille, and the slow dawning of the new age of hockey was fun to watch. For a while.
The Detroit Red Wings, a team I could actually watch more often, were also fun, and I enjoyed their game. But then some violent incidents happened in the early 2000s – I remember the Marty McSorely assault with a stick on Donald Brashear the most, and it seemed like hockey was trying to turn back time. I turned it off. Not to derail this story, but I think there are many in hockey trying to mess with time again, and they will make people in their target demographic turn it off again, and they will be surprised again.
One day years later my windows were open on a nice summer day and I heard someone shouting, “Igor! Igor!” And I was like… is there a guy with a Russian boyfriend in the apartment below me? Until I went ohhhhhhhh! I got the TV on just in time to see a replay of Igor Larionov scoring a playoff goal.
It rekindled some lost love for the game, but by then we weren’t a sports household and I was moving away from watching TV almost entirely. It took a few more years before a cut cord, and a new streaming option for hockey got me interested in the game again. I started watching a few teams – the Avs, the Sabres, the Panthers. I was fascinated with the process by wich a team with elite stars stays bad for years. I was actually more interested in the sociology of the sport than anything else.
One day, I googled: What the hell is Corsi? And I read about it on Arctic Ice Hockey, and then I found other sites for other teams and learned all about new ways of looking at hockey. Before that, the deepest I ever got into statistics was buying the Hockey News yearbook one time (sad what they’ve become) and counting how many times Kurri’s name was in the top 10 of some metric. I followed the Avs for an entire season, and joined MHH, an… interesting site at that time, nothing like it is now.
For many (most) of you, you’ve never faced this conundrum. I really didn’t want to use my real name for reasons that, frankly, aren’t anyone’s business and no longer apply. I toyed with the idea of name that did not signify a gender, but I got stubborn and decided I wanted to still be me. I didn’t want to put on a persona. So I picked a first name that I used to use for trivia machines in bars occasionally (I always won, so it was very occasionally) and I searched for a German version of my last name and put the word squire or equerry through a few centuries of etymology and found a name that really means something else, but at least I had a hope of remembering how to spell.
In the fullness of time, the Maple Leafs, a team that I thought was bad on purpose and had largely ignored, fired the coach and hired Pete Horachek. Suddenly they were interesting because Horachek had some modern ideas of coaching, and I wondered if those Leafs players could actually play… er, no they really couldn’t.
But then came the greatest, most public, most dramatic admission that a hockey team knew it was bad, and had an idea why. On April 12, 2015, the Maple Leafs set the bar as high as Brendan Shanahan can reach for how you renovate an organization riddled with rot. I was hooked. I stopped watching any other teams and had to see the Leafs change the nature of hockey. I think fans know instinctively that the moment when the decision is made to tear it all down, drama and excitement will follow. They want it too much and demand the emotionally satisfying burning and the rise of the phoenix, and you’d think they take the obvious lesson, but… sorry I’m getting off track here. This is all about me!
But that’s how I ended up fixated on the Leafs and in the end manager of this site. That fake name has to go now. It has never not been funny when people ask me how it’s pronounced because you need to ask this Dutch woman who is, I believe, a doctor who is named Katya Knappe. She’ll know. Women experience this struggle online all the time about being too open about who they are, and I’m sorry if it freaks you out that my ID has a different name on it, but that’s how it had to be. If you disapprove — I don’t actually care, just fyi.
But change comes. Change is coming to this blog, and I need to use that wallet name all the time to manage those changes. I can’t give you details today on the future path, not out of coyness but because I’m waiting for a glacier to move and kicking it is ineffective. Very soon we’ll begin sorting out the details. We aren’t going off the air on March 1, that much I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty.
So that’s who the hell I am.