Where I live — the Canadian side of the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie — has become home to two junior A hockey teams in two separate leagues.
And like it or not, it has resulted in a cross-fire of sorts between factions loyal to either side.
From a business and personal point of view, I am trying to remain neutral — but that will be easier said than done.
For the record, whether it’s within HockeyNewsNorth.com, the sports pages of Sault This Week, or on air as host of the Hockey North Show on ESPN 1400, the plan is to give equal coverage to the holdover Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Batchewana Attack of the new Canadian International Hockey League.
To be sure, I have some good relationships — business and personal — with supporters and personnel connected to the Thunderbirds.
To be sure, I have some good relationships — business and personal — with supporters and personnel connected to the Attack.
In a perfect world, all of the good relationships will be maintained.
Having said that, I have been around the junior hockey game as a sportswriter and sportscaster since 1975 — and the world is far from perfect.
Thirty-nine years in the sports media business has produced its share of highs and lows and good and bad experiences.
But there have been way more highs than lows and a lot more good than bad and that is why I am still in the business — in this case, the junior hockey game.
I have my supporters, that much I know.
I have my detractors, that much I know.
Through it all, I harken back to a Sault College journalism instructor of mine from 1974 who offered words that are still with me: “It is a sportswriter’s job to print the truth, give his views and raise a little hell.”
I don’t pretend to be perfect. Far from it.
I have played favourites on many occasions in my lifetime — and I doubt there is a person on Earth who can truthfully say they have never shown favouritism to anyone or anything.
Like most people, I do have good intentions. But I am old enough — if not wise enough — to know that the good intentions of one are not perceived as such by all.
As to the matter of junior A hockey in Sault Ste. Marie, I know what my intentions and plans are — and that is to provide the best coverage I possibly can to both the Thunderbirds and the Attack.
Regardless of my intentions though, there will be some who find fault in what I write and what I say. That’s human nature and there is nothing that I — or anyone else — can do about it.
And to those who do not like what I write or what I say, just remember that this a free world that we live in.
If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it.
If you don’t like what I say, don’t listen.
Really, it is as simple as that.