As Panther Parkway begins its third year of existence, this new season of hockey will come with great anticipation. The Florida Panthers have revamped their roster with veteran players via free agency in hopes to begin a path towards becoming a more competitive team. Additionally the youngsters that are going through their maturation process will be looked at to take the next step in their development, and be counted on to make more significant contributions. I’m sure we’re all excited to see how the new roster gels, and to see how head coach Gerard Gallant puts all the pieces together in his first year behind the Panther bench.
However this article isn’t about the Panthers. It’s actually about our site, and the future of it. Don’t worry, we’re still here. But we too are going through some “personnel” changes.
Due to the fact that I care so much about Panther Parkway and the readers of it, I felt that I owed you an explanation of what my plans are. I have been in hibernation for most of the summer and haven’t written much of anything for quite some time now. I’ve been extremely quiet on Twitter as well. Unfortunately that’s not going to change anytime soon. I’ve been working towards making some changes in my career (re:day job) that won’t allow me to spend the time necessary to give you the quality writing that’s deserved. That being said, I have decided that I need to do what’s best for me not only professionally, but personally. That decision is to take a step back. Very far back. For how long I can’t say. Today, I start a new challenge in my life that I am so looking forward to. If you’re a client, no need to worry. Nothing changes for you, although certain things may have a chance to get better. I’ll be in touch with you soon enough.
The site will be in good hands so no need to be concerned.
As I take this sabbatical, I need to thank some people who’ve helped me in this journey that we’ve been on. I have to start first with David Lasseter. Dave was the first writer who joined me over at our other home. You know, that site with the “catchy name”. Dave added his quick wit, his wry sense of humor, and his expert analysis to the site. But Dave did it in a way that was always fun to read. Except of course when he just posted video’s of things blowing up after an embarrassing loss. He knew how to display the anger for all of us. Dave has become a good friend as well, and I will always be thankful for him taking the leap into this with me. And for some help with a couple minor traffic violations. :)
Josh Luecht who joined shortly after Dave and gave me the “push” to seek credentials for the site. Josh also is to be thanked for getting us to start a podcast. Who ever thought that three guys like us would ever get anyone to listen to three people talk about the Florida Panthers? But you did listen. At one point we were like the three amigos. Or maybe it was the three stooges depending on who you talked to.
And of course, Paige Lewis. I guess you could say we were the fab four. More about her later .
Gaby Kiger who now has a sweet gig with Fox Sports, and Chrissy Parente who moved on from here to do some internship work with the Florida Panthers as she works towards her degree. While I don’t know if we actually helped, at least I can say I knew them before they were famous! Good luck ladies! Oh and congrats Gaby on your recent engagement.
Mike Lewis who was with us briefly has also moved on to a full time position with the Panthers. It was great having you here, and I always like it when someone gets a chance to chase their dream. Good luck Mike.
Jameson Cooper. I’m not sure what to say about Coop. Between his diligent work, his excellent interviewing skills, and his sometimes silly and off the wall tweets, he has become not only one of our better writers, but has also served double duty for me as a marketing assistant for my business. He picked up the slack for me so many times on the site, and has done an outstanding job for us from day one. He too has become a very good friend, and I know he’ll do great things wherever he goes.
Mike Obrand who is currently on honeymoon with his lovely bride Carly in Greece (writing for us apparently gives people the love bug). Mike is going to add his “Canadian” flair to this site and I promise you he’ll be a great read each and every time he posts something. I still owe him a drink or two, and I promise that sometime after he returns and things settle down a bit, we’ll get together and toss a few back. Or I’ll at least try to convince him to buy insurance from me.
Finally, I have to thank Paige Lewis. I often refer to Paige on twitter as my hockey wife, I cannot thank her enough for what she’s done for me and the site. One of the main reasons for the success of Panther Parkway is due to Paige, and people need to know just how hard she works at it. And how dedicated she is to it. Proof of that are the accolades our podcast “Panther Parkway Radio” gets, which she has taken to new heights. Except on those nights where the silliness just takes over, but hey, we have fun. Smarter than most people give her credit for, she has more hockey knowledge in her little fingernail than many people have in their entire brain. While she’s technically young enough to be my daughter, she’s mature way beyond her years. I honestly love her more than I can say here. She has become a special person in my life, and I will forever be grateful for the friendship we have. Mike Dixon, you’re a lucky man.
I would also like to thank the Florida Panthers organization for their trust and confidence in giving us the access to the players and coaches of the team. You did this when we were just three guys thinking we knew what we were talking about. In our own minds we did, but our message had to be tamed, and it ultimately was. While we don’t get paid for this, we all respect the credentials that were given to us, and by doing so I think everyone would agree that our writing improved dramatically because of it. My stepping back doesn’t change that, as Paige has the same philosophy about things as I do. There will be some new writers added, and some exciting things will be happening as things move forward.
In closing, I would like to thank all the readers of the site, the followers on Twitter and our Facebook Fan page. I would like to thank the many people who have had me as a guest on their podcast or radio shows, and if you’re reading I’m still available to do that when my schedule permits. I also need to thank all the other media members that I’ve met, and everyone associated with writing and hockey fandom. I have a great deal of respect for people like George Richards and Harvey Fialkov who are the Panther beat reporters. You guys have a tough job.
I have made many friends because of this, and while I haven’t met all of you in person, the one’s that I have met have been absolutely some of the nicest people around. This decision was a difficult one to make, but I know that it’s the right choice not only for Panther Parkway, but for me as well. I’ll still have a hand in what goes with the site, but my real life career has to take priority. I’m sure that you can appreciate that, and I hope you understand.
A trademark of my articles always includes a music video of Bruce Springsteen. Here he is from his performance this past April at the BB & T Center in Sunrise, Florida. He talks at the beginning about why he wrote this particular song that he’s performing, and references people coming together for one idea. Kind of like how Panther Parkway came to be.
Thanks everyone for your support and your friendship.