As One Era Begins, Another One Comes To An End

The Colorado Avalanche have recently entered what we all hope is an exciting new era. Joe Sakic will have a more active role in the front office, Patrick Roy will be taking over behind the bench and the Avs will add another young gun to the stable at the upcoming draft. Unfortunately, I will be watching the action unfold from a different seat than I have grown accustomed to. After nearly six wonderful years at Mile High Hockey, I am stepping aside, effective immediately.

I never set out to become a blogger of any sort, let alone one in charge of the greatest fucking Colorado Avalanche community in the history of the internet (I can say that because you all are the ones who made that happen, not me). Back in 2005, an acquaintance of mine was looking for people to write for his new sports blog. I had no idea what a blog was, but I had a shitload of free time at work so I signed up and, frankly, barely posted anything. I do remember posting about the Theodore trade when it happened, but honestly I was mostly a slacker. The site folded in 2006 and Ron has since gone on to do some great work with, ironically enough, Bleacher Report.

I'm still not sure why, but for some reason when Smart Guys Sports folded I decided to start my own Wordpress blog and so InTheCheapSeats was born. At first, I set out to make it a home for my "clever" and "witty" commentary on all sorts of sports. Strike one. Before long, I had started gravitating towards hockey. I tried to recruit a couple of hockey guys I knew back then. One was a big Wings fan (that would have been interesting, yes?) and another one turned out to become a fairly decent blogger in his own right (understatement). They all turned me down. Strike two. Since I was on my own, ITCS kind of naturally gravitated towards being an Avalanche site. At some point the folks at the now-defunct Avalanche Country site started picking up my recaps and ITCS started growing a nice little following with many notable future MHH regulars.

I think it was spring of 2007 when Joe Dunman from Dear Lord Stanley emailed me to see if I would help him with a new Sports Blog Nation blog he was starting up. I had no clue was SBN was (I never really was that versed in other sites) but it sounded like fun so I decided to give it a shot. I remember he had a few different names he was tossing around. He was shooting for more of a community thing, something like Avalanche Army or Burgundy Brigade or something like that, but he also mentioned Mile High Hockey. I told him MHH was the way to go and I think we got that one right (even if our logo sucked). I committed to do one post a week and, like before, pretty much blew that off completely. But Joe quickly built MHH into a thriving Avalanche community with a big assist from a writer and banhammer wielder from Bleu, Blanc et Rouge named Mike Thompson.

In 2008 I stopped dicking around and joined MHH on a full-time basis. I don't remember exactly when I took the reins over from Joe so that he could become a highfalutin', fancy pants lawyer but I do know that I would not have been able to keep the ship running without an amazing group of writers.

Even with all the help, though, it's become increasingly hard for me to find time to give MHH the love and tender caressing that she deserves. Over the years, my easy job with gobs of free time turned into a challenging one with almost none. My children have grown from easily entertained toddlers into pre-teens who fill their lives - and mine - with an insane amount of after-school activities. I have been thinking about stepping away for a while now, only to talk myself into one more year. Well, this time I finally found the balls to what needed to be done.

It was by no means an easy decision to make. I truly love the community we have here and I am incredibly proud of whatever small part I've had in helping that grow and flourish. And while it is going to be hard for me to step away (literally, I have tears right now), I am happy that the reins will be passed to someone as passionate about the Avalanche and this community as I am. It is with great pleasure that I announce that Cheryl Bradley will be taking over for me right away and I have no doubt at all that she is going to absolutely kick ass at it. I'll be honest, I was going to leave no matter what, but knowing that someone as qualified as Cheryl will be in charge does make me feel a lot better about my decision.

As for me, I have no immediate plans. It would be nice to put a dent in the massive backlog of unplayed Steam games that I've collected. I keep threatening to pick up the guitar again and I still do want to learn how to make mashups as good as the ones from Girl Talk. I might pop in and do a Joe-style guest piece here every once in a while and I'm sure you'll find me hanging out in the comments from time to time but first I'm going to simply take a little time to chill. After that? I have no idea. I really don't.

Thank you, Joe, for bringing me to MHH all those years ago. Thank you, Cheryl, Sandie and Mike for all the help running things over the years; I absolutely could not have gotten it down without you. Thank you to an awesome group of writers - past and present - who have given us a wealth of entertaining content over the years. Thank you, Adrian Dater for all the support over the years (although don't forget that you get to pick up the tab next time we grab a beer). Thank you Lowayne for making an effort to stop by Keene and say hi a few years ago (the burrito place that you hated is now closed, by the way). Thanks Dario for all the help at ITCS and for always keeping your comments brief. Special thanks to my beautiful wife Christine who has been so patient and supportive all these years. I know that I've said "I'll be just a few more minutes on this article, honey" a million times and it was almost never true. I just said it again (and I was wrong, again), but that'll be the last time for a while. Probably.

But most of all, thank you to everyone who helped give this site a sense of community. For this farewell piece, I used the photo of our second logo for a reason. It wasn't the work of any one person, but was, instead, morphed into a community project. I hope, if you do have the occasion to look back on my contributions here, I'll be remembered not for any one article but for the community I helped maintain. Or, maybe it'll be that Red Wing thing.

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