By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter: @andrewtaverna
The 2020-21 Boston Bruins season will forever be something to remember. This season will likely (hopefully) be the only year of our lives the NHL will play almost an entire regular season without fans in the stands. In addition, it was the first year where I covered the Bruins for an entire season, and to all of you who followed along with me, thank you.
There’s been many different moments and people who have led me here, including founder and CEO of BNG, Mark Allred, who allowed a guy like me to write about my favorite sports team. Of course, the entire team here at BNG has been instrumental in my success this year as well, but I also owe a thank you to members of the Bruins media who have inspired me to take on this new challenge. There are so many folks I could call out specifically, but I kept it to just five for this article.
The Beat Guys
I imagine being a beat writer has to be one of the most challenging gigs in the writing community. You’re constantly trying to follow the news, the team, and most importantly, a sometimes insane fan base. You have to be up-to-speed with every aspect of the team, and you have to know the ins and outs of an organization that may sometimes not love your coverage. There are so many great beat reporters out there, but these are a few of my favorites.
I’m a particular fan of Evan’s work because he has a tendency to strike the balance of a level-headed beat reporter and engaged Twitter personality. His writing for clsnmedia.com is classy and insightful but still gives you that bit of fandom that makes you feel connected. Ultimately, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from following Evan’s work is you can write objectively about the Bruins and still insert some of your personality.
I put Conor with Evan on my list together because the two of them seem to be genuinely good friends. Conor is also a fantastic Twitter follow because he gives you the insider access you want from a beat reporter but doesn’t take himself too seriously.
One aspect of my writing I’ve tried to take from Conor is the flow of his writing. You never struggle to get through an article written by Conor. Check out some of his work over at the Boston Sports Journal, and I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
As I’ve started to dig deeper into the Bruins world, you begin to realize which sites and which people work well together. For example, Evan and Conor show that even though they work for different organizations, they provide joint coverage like no other. You can check out a sample of it on their infamous Bruins Beat podcast.
Ty Anderson has maybe the most challenging job in the world. He works for 98.5, a radio station with the likes of Adam Jones and Mike Felger. I think the only people who like the Bruins less than those two are Montreal Canadiens fans. In all seriousness, Ty does a great job providing his knowledge both on-air and in written format for 98.5, but maybe even more important than his fantastic knowledge and excellent writing; Ty taught me this year that it’s OK to be a person. Sometimes, you need to take a minute away to take care of your mental health, and that is perfectly OK. Be sure to give Ty a follow on Twitter for his excellent hockey takes and great humor.
NESN has been providing solid Bruins coverage for a long time now, and honestly, there are many mixed reviews of the coverage over at NESN, and I don’t get it. Unless you’ve been a fan of another team, I think you likely greatly underappreciate the coverage they provide over at NESN. Every on-air personality brings something to the table, but I thought I’d take out a minute to call out one of my favorites.
Billy has inspired me to become a sharper dresser. I’m just kidding. I could never pull off those fabulous suits. In all seriousness, Billy is the ultimate professional. He breaks down every take he gives in a thoughtful and meaningful manner without adding any unneeded emotion. When you’re looking to understand a play, a game, or even entire sections of the season, Billy provides some of the best coverage available on TV. As if that wasn’t enough, Billy and Andrew (Razer) Raycroft started a podcast this year called Morning Bru. It’s a fantastic product and indeed added to my enjoyment of this season and inspired my work over at Puck Lines Podcast.
Bruins Team Writer
I cannot imagine a world where I have to cover a sports team objectively, let alone objectively cover a sports team that employees me. That seems to be maybe one of the most challenging writing positions to be in, yet one of the people who has inspired my work the most this year is Eric Russo, and his job is just that.
I first started reading Eric’s work without even realizing who he was. I’d open up the Bruins app every morning, and I’d thumb through some articles in the app and read about my favorite sports team. As I was starting to find ways to write and format my articles, I found it particularly helpful. I’d read a couple from the most recent days, then open my laptop and try and brainstorm ideas for either an article or my podcast. I always liked the objective and factual point of view the pieces took while providing inside access.
I then went out of my way to look up the guy who seemingly wrote most of that content. It was a bit of a shock when I realized Eric (who does a lot of the Bruins video) also is the guy who does a lot of the writing. The biggest thing I think I’ve learned from Eric, though, outside of the fact that he’s a multi-talented guy, is that it takes only a second to say thank you. I often will comment or leave a note on one of Eric’s posts, and without fail, he takes a moment to say thanks. It might seem simple, but saying thanks to all of you who have been reading my content and leaving me positive comments, has genuinely made me feel more connected to my audience.
To close this article out, I just wanted to say, thanks again. Thank you to all of the Bruins media who have inspired and taught me so much this year. Thank you to all of the media members I did not write about but have impacted what I do.
Most importantly, thanks to you. Thank you for taking the time to read our work this year at BNG. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our podcasts. We look forward to providing you a fantastic off-season of content and look forward to next year. Go, Bruins!