January 09, 2016

Can't Match Old Time Storytellers

As talented as many of today's bloggers are, they just can't shake a hockey stick at many of the colorful newspapermen of hockey's earliest days.

Take Al Hardy. Reporting on a Vancouver-Ottawa match in 1921, he was impressed with Ottawa's defense.

"Ottawa's defense held tighter than the warts on a golf ball," he wrote.

Later he added "They clung to their slender lead like a bulldog to the seat of a tramp's trousers."

He was impressed with Vancouver's tenacious forechecking, too.

"They harried the Ottawa forwards like a rat terrier landlord hounds his tenants."

As a researcher who has poured through plenty of old microfiche, I can attest how enjoyable the old storytelling can be. More than a few times I could be found in the libraries chuckling away to myself.

This was accepted sports journalism back in the day. Sports writers were often great story tellers.
Without video or live broadcasts the writers took it upon themselves to recreate the action with colorful if exaggerated folklore.

Nowadays writers simply present the facts and often offer analysis, allowing for plenty of quotes from the players to add value. In the era of 24 hour sports channels and downloadable highlight packages, we don't need colorful written reports of what we can all see.

But it would be nice.

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