Faced with the ongoing offseason struggle to find a topic to write about I had a nice idea last week when I was busier with email than I usually like to be. I was visiting Chris Heisenberg's Recruit Listing and while pondering what a great resource it is I remember that I'd always meant to send him an email saying how awesome the listing is. I'm no longer much of an email fan: Don't get me wrong, email has it uses and I used to constantly be sending messages to this friend or that but over the years it's grown to feel more like paying bills than communicating to me. I flipped over the email tab and sent Chris the following message:
I've meant to send this any number of times so please forgive the tardiness. I want to simply say thank you with great appreciation and admiration for the all the work you must do to keep your recruit listings up to date. I first found your list through the USCHO board's back around 99 or so and time and time again have found the wealth of information you provide to the College Hockey community invaluable. If there were a College Hockey Fan Hall of Fame I think you'd be the first inductee.
I remember many a time pulling up your listing and pouring over the lists to be both inspired and educated. More than once I've found myself ingesting your information over and over with the result being some new insight or knowledge that quite simply wouldn't have been possible without all your work. I can't speak for every fan that peruses your pages but anyone that doesn't find your information extremely valuable should probably be locked up.
If it isn't an imposition I'd like to ask a few questions of you so that I might profile you on my blog. I understand in advance if you are reticent in any way ... so no worries if you'd rather not.
I wanted to make sure he understood how valuable his efforts are to the hockey community but killing two birds with one stone is never a bad thing. I crossed my fingers that he'd respond because I'v got nothing else to write about this week. So when I checked my email account tonight I was happy to find his response. Below are my questions with his answers.
1. When did you first publish your recruit listing and what prompted you to take on that gargantuan task?
I first did it in 95 when I got on the web, and found USA Today listing the hockey early signings. That opened up my listing of who had committed. Once junior leagues started posting info, I was able to get a better handle of who was a top player but not yet committed. From there, it grew, and being first gets me more connections than others. Not any real magic, other than that junior coaches and parents know my site more than others, and so pass along more info. And several devoted college fans have inside info on their programs that they pass along.
2. About how many hours a week to you devote to maintaining the lists?
Too much, if you ask my wife.
3. Where does the bulk of your information come from? Do you just rely on announcements from Jr. teams regarding committments or do you have to search them out? Are you organized to "the nines"? Or do you just have a phalanx of denizens that are in the know and send you lots of email? How many folders are in your browsers Bookmark menu? In other words ... How the hell do you do it all man?
A pretty good network of junior coaches who more and more want the pr for having developed a scholarship player. For junior teams, they obviously want to promote their kids, so some do provide me a pre-season listing of players to watch. Of course, the USA festivals give me a sense of what American kids are up and coming.
4. Which D-1 team(s) do you follow most closely?
UNH. Graduated from there and was the student hockey reporter all four years 83-87.
5. Do you get tired of "uncertainty principle" jokes?
I do get them a lot, but not enough to get tired of them.
6. Do you have a USCHO username and more importantly have I ever flamed you?
No, although I do keep track of the board, as it often is the best early tickler system.
7. East or West?
Root for the east, but I guess that's like rooting for a National League team vs. the American League.
8. Will you be the last AOL user before they turn out the lights?
For no good reason other than that I've had too much difficulty getting high speed access to my house. If I had that, AOL would be gone so fast. ;)
I'm happy that Chris hasn't ever had to personally endure any of my antics on USCHO. And I'm hopeful his wife has some understanding that without his contribution there'd be tons of stupid D-1 hockey fans walking around like zombies from a bad horror movie in a Wisconsin mall. And I did my best to come up with something original regarding the whole "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" but the position and velocity of my thoughts at any particular point in time is indeterminable.