If you’re reading this you’ve found Pittsburgh Hockey Digest, which is a small miracle in of itself. We thank you. As a welcome, I’ll take a moment to explain why we’re here and what we do.
We’re here because we love hockey. If you also love hockey, we think you’ll get it. Hockey is a family sport. Once you’re in it, you’re part of the family. Once you’ve been a part of it, it’s very hard to be on the outside looking in.
That’s what drove us to create this site. All of us have other jobs, media or otherwise. But all of us have a strong passion for the game that has fueled our desire to stay connected to the sport we love. We hope that passion shines through in everything we do here.
First off, some introductions are in order.
I’m Alan Saunders. I got my start in media with HockeysFuture in 2004. Along the way, I’ve covered the ECHL, the Penguins and Robert Morris, in addition to football, baseball, basketball, golf and pretty much everything else. I’m currently a full-time freelancer and you can also find my work in the Associated Press, Beaver County Times, PiratesProspects.com and PittsburghSportsNow.com. I’ll be a reporter, editor and probably a thousand other things. I’m also the guy dumb enough to put up his own money on this venture.
Brian Mitchell is my long-time friend who will be a utility player for the site (think Ian Moran, but with less hair). He’s the photographer. He’s the audio engineer. He’s the guy that pretty much always has that cable that I need. He’ll be doing some writing. He’s our resident expert on all things goaltending. He drives through the night extremely well and accepts payment in Dos Equis and scotch. Basically, he’s perfect for this site.
Gary Heeman probably knows more about the Robert Morris hockey program than anyone except head coach Derek Schooley. Gary has been as an arena reporter for USCHO.com since 2008, and has witnessed each season of RMU Men’s Hockey program history since it’s inception in 2004. He got his start writing at the now defunct inthecrease.com covering the also defunct Asheville Smoke of the (similarly defunct — aren’t minor leagues great?) United Hockey League. If he’s away from the rink, Gary is probably writing about dirt track auto racing or making his own soda.
Matt Popchock is going to be our high school hockey mainstay. Matt knows — and has forgotten — more about the PIHL than anyone else I’ve ever met. Matt has covered the league extensively for MSA Sports and KDKA. He has a fantastic, almost mesmerizing, radio voice.
Parker Hurley will focus on the women’s side of the sport for us. He’s a fellow IUP guy and noted overachiever — he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and an associate degree in Communications Media and Business Management, which means they hit him up for twice as many donations. Parker has also covered football and basketball is in his second year covering Robert Morris hockey. Outside of the rink, he likes to play sports with his friends and binge-watch TV. We have to schedule his game coverage around Taco Tuesday.
Special thanks go out to Sean McCool, who designed our awesome logo and Joe Steigerwald, who built this beautiful website.
I expect there to be additions to this list, including one that is already confirmed and I’m really excited about. But patience, dear readers, patience.
Want to join the team? We’re probably going to have some openings as we get things ramped up. Drop us a line.
What is Burgh Hockey?
Burgh Hockey is something you’re going to hear about a lot around here. It’s the driving principle behind the entire site and our de-facto motto, so I figured I should define it. Simply put, Burgh Hockey is the celebration of all things grassroots hockey in Western Pennsylvania.
Our high school, college, junior and midget teams? Those are all Burgh Hockey. Pittsburgh-born players in the pros? That’s Burgh Hockey. Cool hockey events that happen in Pittsburgh? That’s Burgh Hockey, too. Sled hockey, ball hockey, hockey cards, hockey history … you get the picture.
There are so many other parts of the Pittsburgh hockey scene that mostly get ignored. John Gibson just played in the World Cup. Eight years ago, he played in front of 50 parents and friends at Alpha Ice Arena in Harmarville.
That’s what we hope to bring to you: Pittsburgh players and Pittsburgh teams, with a focus on the stories you won’t find anywhere else.
If you see Burgh Hockey happening in the wild, let us know about it! Leave a comment, send an e-mail to pittsburghhockeydigest at gmail.com, or tweet using the hashtag #BurghHockey.
Finally, a note about advertising. If you look around today, you won’t see any. That will change, but in a pretty specific way. We’re looking for Pittsburgh businesses and hockey businesses (or both) that we can uniquely connect to their customers. We think the combination is pretty special and we’re looking for the right people to partner with. If you think you are one (or know one), let us know.
Most of all, thanks for reading, and again, welcome!