I have been asked why I write about Polish hockey a lot. Sometimes it is a serious interest or times in a manner suggesting it’s a waste of time. Writing about Polish hockey itself is already an uncommon endeavor, but writing about it in English is even more unusual. I mean, I do think about what is the point to myself a lot. Who do I write more for English speakers or Polish speakers? My analytics say English speakers, but I do often question how authentic their engagement is. That engagement is something website statistics can not track.
Polish Puck was started on April 25th, 2015. It was just a twitter account. Probably the worse time to launch the page given there was no actual news to report on really. The account was just pretty much dedicated to Lyszczarczyk news and stats leading up the CHL import draft, where Lyszczarczyk was not drafted because at the time it wasn’t known his birthplace was in the United States. While I continued to attract a small number of followers, it really wasn’t much interaction. I was in my freshman year of college, taking general business classes. I always had a clear interest in working in hockey but never really wanted to be a hockey writer. I can’t lie my writing skills are always still evolving, and it’s always cringe-inducing to look back at old posts, but also amazing to see how far things have come.
There were a lot of points where I thought about just shutting down Polish Puck. I mean, it was pointless to begin. Only the random tweets of a bored college student who liked Polish hockey. I have long fought a personal battle with depression, especially in my first few years of college. Finding the motivation to do anything was hard. I always felt like anything I was doing was pointless, and I couldn’t find joy in anything. Polish Puck was something that I could barely ever bring myself to do in the early years of it. The only reason Polish Puck was able to survive is because of Mike Danton.
Well, he is a controversial figure in hockey and especially Polish hockey, him following me on twitter kinda gave me new energy to continue the page. It felt like validation that I actually was doing something good. Yes, a twitter follow is a tiny insignificant thing, but at the time it meant a lot to me.
I continued to add more coverage for the prospects and just spend more time on Polish Puck overall. More and more research into Polish hockey. The purpose of Polish Puck became clear to me. There are tons of Polish Americans and Canadians or people with Polish heritage who I think would follow the national team if the coverage was there.
I feel you see a lot of that for other large European hockey countries. There are English blogs for Russia, Sweden, or just general European hockey. I also saw how passionate people in America are for the Polish National “soccer” team or for Polish teams and athletes during the Olympics. It was a small niche audience, but one I thought was there and wanted to pursue.
The blog was set up in December, and the first post talked about some recent North American signings in the PHL. North American imports felt so much more common when I first started compared to now. The blog was fully started because I didn’t want to do constant threads on Twitter anymore. I felt bad blowing up peoples timelines to tell them about the newest small roster move.
The blog really didn’t get too much attention for the first three years of existence. I wasn’t the most consistent poster at it to be fair, but overall there was a lack of interest in the blog for sure. I can remember writing game day pieces on the u20 world championships getting zero views and feeling absolutely crushed. The game day pieces were pointless in a way. I had already tweeted the score if not live-tweeted the game. The twitter account was my only way of promoting articles, so if someone followed me there was really no reason to read the recap.
At the end of the day news can just always be tweeted or posted to Facebook in a couple hundred characters there is no need for articles on it in my format unless the news is just that big. I have to give people more of a reason to read my stuff. I switched my writing to more giving analyst and trying to do more out there pieces. Finding even more niche topics in a niche topic.
Since I made this change in 2018, I had a new high in views and visitors to the site. Furthering this approach even more in 2019, resulting in more views than the first four years of the blog combined and its only July. Polish Puck is on pace to exceed over 15,000 views and visitors in 2019. It is truly astounding to me how far the blog has come from the days of zero views. I am an analytical person, and numbers really speak to me. So seeing the growth that the blog has had has been an amazing accomplishment for myself.
Why I write about Polish hockey doesn’t have a single answer. First, it’s my passion for hockey in the country, and I want to see it grow and thrive. I have interacted with so many great people and fans of the game from Poland that deserve to celebrate a strong national team and league. So many great players, coaches, and staff that deserve a bigger stage to show their ability. Second, I feel I am filling the hole of coverage for people who want to follow the national team, but can’t find coverage or don’t speak the language. This isn’t just fans, but other writers or hockey players, coaches, etc. Third, I believe I am contributing something new and different for Polish fans. I feel I can provide more and different coverage then great sites like hokej.net, hokejfan.pl, and planetofhockey.com. Last I just enjoy doing it. It’s been a lot of fun. I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with some wonderful people through the blog. Each time staying up all night or getting up extremely early to watch games, or giving up weekends for events has been worth it. I even watched during my own graduation.
The purpose of my work may not have a point to most people, but it does to me and that is why I write about Polish hockey.