What Day is Today?
I’ve received some questions about how my role differs from the hockey season to the off-season and what my crazy travel schedule is like. I figured it would be fun to dive into what my day-to-day is like during the season, and what happens when it all stops for the summer.
Question from Scott:
What is the difference between the season and the offseason? Also, how do you keep busy in the offseason?
Oh boy, there are many differences between the season and offseason. It’s basically night and day. When I started with the Rangers, I was hired in September. My first day was three days before opening night (talk about jumping in head first).
The hockey season is a GRIND. It’s an 82-games-in-7-months kind of grind, if you’re unfamiliar with the NHL. On average, I’m in two different cities per week, working 2 to sometimes 5 games in a 7-day period. If I’m not at a game, traveling to a game, or at a practice, I’m in a hotel room or at my desk prepping for the next game.
On game days, I have a routine that I stick to pretty religiously (unless something unforeseen happens). Home games are a little different because I’m at Madison Square Garden all day, starting with morning skate, and ending after the game at night. As a digital team, we travel to every road game and practice to capture footage of morning skate and go into the locker room to talk to players about the game that night.
After morning skate is over, we have a couple hours before we have to be back at the arena for game time. I’ll usually grab some lunch and head back to my hotel room to prep for the game, go over questions for my pregame interview and study up on the opponent. We typically head over to the arena around 3:30 PM for a 7 PM game. Our goal is to bring fans closer to the team and provide unique access, so we capture behind the scenes video and photos of the team’s arrival, pregame rituals and countdown to the game. We set up our “studio” for my pregame interview (hang our backdrop in a corner or hallway somewhere), and hear from the head coach.
Pregame is my favorite part of game day. There’s so much going on to prepare for a game. Players are stretching and playing soccer in random hallways between Zambonis and storage, the ice crew is running around making sure the ice is in tip top shape, arena crew members are testing sound and lights, the anthem singer is going through a test run…it’s really something special to just take in all the sights and sounds before an NHL game even begins.
During road games last season, we wanted to learn more about Rangers fans around the country so we produced features called “RangersTown On The Road”. Those were fun for me to hear the “why” behind fans’ travels or the reason for their fandom despite their lack of a New York area address.
Aside from any special features we may shoot during a game, the majority of my time is spent in the press box watching the action and preparing our postgame storylines.
After the game, we head to the locker room to get reaction from the players and coach and then leave the arena to head straight to the airport to either return to New York or go to the next city. It’s a super quick turnaround. We’re typically in the air an hour or so after the game ends. Then, we wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
As for the offseason, it’s completely different. I’m in the office during the week, meeting and planning our editorial calendar, conceptualizing ideas and player storylines. The fun things to work on during the summer months include the NHL Combine, the Draft, free agency and Training Camp. This year, the Draft was extremely exciting for the organization, with 3 first round draft picks for the first time in team history. The prep for that was pretty intensive. I researched every single draft eligible player, just in case. I had a list with bullet points for each prospect, so I was ready to interview him if he put that Rangers jersey on. The Draft is a really exciting event to be a part of because you’re watching 18-year-olds (sometimes 17-year-olds) from all over the world, all in one place, waiting to hear if their lives will be changed. It’s incredibly special to watch and then get to interview them right after they walk across that stage.
Question from Andrew:
What’s it like to travel with the team?
Traveling with the team is a unique experience. It’s a very professional, business-like environment. I would say the most surprising part for me when I first started traveling with the team was how efficient the process is. One minute we’re on a bus heading from the arena to the airport, and the next, we’ve all boarded and we’re taking off.
One of the best parts of my job is having the ability to visit and explore so many different parts of the country. I had never spent time in Canada, I had never explored cities on my own, and I had never spent more nights in a hotel bed than my own bed in a week, before I took on this role with the Rangers. And truthfully, I didn't realize how much I would enjoy exploring new places by myself.
I remember my first trip to Vancouver in November of 2016.
I heard about a park right outside the city that I was interested in exploring. We happened to have a day off there so, I hopped on a city bus and went up into the mountains to walk out over a suspension bridge in the high tops of fir trees, all by myself.
I will never forget how exhilarating that feeling was-independence, adventure, and excitement all at once.
Traveling with a professional hockey team is an experience that I am extremely grateful for. It’s enabled me to feel like an integral part of the organization, getting to learn the ins and outs of how they get it all done. It truly takes a village to ensure the entire team is ready to perform.
From the coordination of the travel, meals and accommodation, to trainers keeping players' bodies healthy, and everything in between. I’m lucky to share this adventure with Rangers fans, and I’m soaking up every minute.