So, I guess it's all coming full circle.
I first got into the media business by starting an independent blog called The United States of Hockey. It was my desperate ploy to stay in hockey after a change in family priorities forced me to leave a job with USA Hockey just as I felt like my career was beginning to take off. My wife got a new, better job in Eastern Iowa and I thought that was about it for working in the sport I’ve loved since I was conscious.
Little did I realize at the time, in the 10 years after I first hit publish, that little blog would take me to heights I never dreamed possible in a career that has been rewarding and exhilarating all at once. But as is so often the case, things can't stay perfect forever. After three years covering the NHL Draft, prospects and hockey at large for ESPN, my time with the company was cut short along with so many others. I loved the job and loved what I did. I felt like I was at the top of my game coming out of the last draft and certainly wasn’t ready to hang it up.
So I’m not.
Introducing Hockey Sense with Chris Peters
I have decided to go back to independent media with the launch of Hockey Sense with Chris Peters, which I hope will become one of your regular stops for in-depth analysis on prospects, the NHL Draft, college hockey, international hockey, growth of the game and so much more.
Writing this post reminded me of the excitement and trepidation I had writing my first for United States of Hockey, only this time I have a decade of experience, a lot more contacts in and around the game and I think I've even gotten a little better at this writing thing, too.
So why go independent? There are a few reasons. The first is that I’ve already worked for two of the biggest sports outlets in the world and have seen both trim hockey coverage. As I explored my options, I found that there weren’t going to be many places where I could continue to do the work that I’m most passionate about. There are always stories that might be too niche or too narrow for national outlets and I want to make sure some of those stories get told. I still want to continue to do the big broad pieces like rankings and redrafts, but I also want to get back to getting specific, providing more nuance, more detail and having the freedom to cover every and any story that I think hockey fans should know about or would enjoy.
The opportunity to have a direct line with readers is exciting, too. I want this to be an interactive space, where conversations between myself and the readers is helping drive the direction of the content. The chance to build a community of people who are rabidly passionate about hockey and provide the coverage that is particular to a wide array of interests in the many niches of the sport is refreshing and invigorating. I also could not think of any better motivator — beyond the high standards I set for myself — than being accountable directly to the readers I’m writing for. Instead of working for a big corporation, I’m working for you.
What you can expect
Each week will include a minimum of two newsletters that will be packed to the gills with fresh information by way of reporting and analysis. There will still be some long-form stories, but many of the newsletters are going to have chunks of information in a variety of categories. Coverage of the NHL Draft will certainly be the anchor of the site, but there’s a lot more ground to be covered, so I’m going to do my best to cover it.
Here’s what you’ll be able to find here on a regular basis:
NHL Draft & prospects coverage
If you followed my work on ESPN+, you're going to get largely the same kind of content, only this time, I can go even more in depth and provide more nuance to the coverage on the prospects and draft news you simply need to know about.
Quarterly rankings of the Top 100 prospects for the NHL Draft
Regular Mock Drafts
Prospect check-ins of those trending up or trending down
Scout polls on draft news, prospects and more
Annual farm system rankings and quarterly check-ins
Drafted prospect rankings twice annually
Notebooks with information on specific viewings, events and news items related to draft-eligible and already-drafted prospects
Unique men’s college hockey coverage
Special focus on players on the NHL track
Regular notebooks featuring team-by-team analysis and trend pieces about what’s happening in and around college hockey
Regular Hobey Baker, Mike Richter and Tim Taylor Award watch lists
Big picture features on the future of men’s college hockey, including expansion, realignment and what’s on the horizon.
Comprehensive coverage of the NCAA tournament all the way through the Men’s Frozen Four
Specialized coverage of USA Hockey’s national teams
As a nod to my old United States of Hockey days, Hockey Sense will also be a resource for unparalleled coverage of Team USA at all levels. Additionally, with less than a year to go, you’ll find extensive coverage of the build-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with in-depth analysis of roster construction of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Teams whether NHL players are going or not.
World Junior Championship coverage from summer camp through the tournament itself
Wall-to-wall World Men’s Under-18 Championship coverage (hopefully on site) with updates on USA and draft prospects from other countries
Men’s World Championship coverage from roster construction to the tournament itself with game-by-game analysis and player evals
Women’s World Championship game recaps and player evals
Comprehensive build-up to the Olympics with mock rosters for the men’s and women’s teams, updates from inside USA Hockey all the way through game-by-game analysis during the Beijing tournament.
The big difference between this site and United States of Hockey is that the last 10 years has allowed me to expand my coverage and contacts globally. That's why we'll also be checking in regularly with the Canadian Hockey League, European hockey and international tournaments outside of the IIHF events. No stone will be unturned in covering hockey on a global scale.
What it will cost
To give you the best content and do this right, subscriptions are set $6 per month or $54 for an annual subscription, so you get 12 months for the price of nine by choosing the annual option.
There is also an option for a "Supporting Subscriber" for those who, if they see fit, can provide funds over and above the annual subscription fee, which is explained in greater detail below.
I realize adding another subscription to what is surely a laundry list of different media you’re already paying for is a big ask, especially now. Just know that your subscriptions will help fund the absolute best work I can offer.
Most of the funds that come from subscriptions will be going right back into the site, especially early on. Prospect work is expensive to execute with travel and video service subscriptions just to name a few key expenses. Your subscriptions will directly impact the quality and breadth of coverage.
I won't ever take for granted the faith you've put directly in me to provide you the best, most up-to-date and comprehensive analysis and reporting. I pride myself on a strong work ethic that comes across in the content. Knowing people are putting their faith in me through a subscription is all the fuel I need to put forth my best effort and enhance my creativity for unique coverage.
Supporting Subscriber option
If you feel strongly enough about this idea or you’d like to give this project a little extra help to hit the ground running, I’m offering a Supporting Subscriber option as well. This will allow you to contribute any amount you see fit beyond the $54 annual subscription. Just click the Subscribe Now link below, select the Supporting Subscriber option and enter the amount you’d like to contribute.
Among the perks for Supporting Subscribers:
Virtual fireside chats and happy hours with me and other Supporters to discuss topics in and around the game and further build the community.
Supporting Subscriber virtual mock drafts, with results published in one of the newsletters. This puts you in the driver’s seat to create some of your own content for the site.
Supporting subscribers will also have a direct influence on the content they see on the site as I’ll be regularly connecting with each to find out what they want to see here.
When it becomes feasible again, in person meet-ups at major events like the Men’s Frozen Four and World Juniors.
As an additional note, the bulk of Supporting Subscriber contributions will be earmarked for a travel budget, when travel is an option again. So Supporting Subscribers will have a big impact on the quality of the content provided as I will be hoping to increase the live viewings as health regulations allow.
One newsletter per month will provide free content to all with some samples of what a premium membership grants you, plus original pieces specific to the free newsletter. Among the free pieces will be monthly NHL rookie rankings, a “Top 23 Under 23” list three times per year and other news and notes from around the game at all levels.
A weekly Hockey Sense with Chris Peters podcast will also be launching very soon with commentary on the same kind of topics you’ll read about here and will feature interesting guests from media to players, coaches, execs and more. Stay tuned for that announcement as subscribers to the newsletter will get an early release of the first episode.
Also, the first issue of Hockey Sense is due out later this week and will be free to all so you can get an idea of what to expect. Subscribe now so you don’t miss it!
I thank you for your support, your encouragement and your readership for however long you've followed my work. If you’re new, I look forward to showing you what I can do. This is a big leap of faith, but one I am excited to make. I hope you'll join me on this new journey and can't wait to take you along for what should be a really fun ride.