Free Press upping its game

We'll offer some new approaches in 2016

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Strolling through the bowels of the MTS Centre, on my way to perhaps the biggest press conference I would ever attend, Paul Wiecek sent me a text reminding me to enjoy the day and to appreciate that I was quarterbacking the biggest sports story of the day in North America.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/01/2016 (2460 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Strolling through the bowels of the MTS Centre, on my way to perhaps the biggest press conference I would ever attend, Paul Wiecek sent me a text reminding me to enjoy the day and to appreciate that I was quarterbacking the biggest sports story of the day in North America.

It was May 31, 2011 and Gary Bettman was in the building to officially announce the NHL was returning to Winnipeg.

I remember thinking how this would change everything. One of my responsibilities as sports editor at the FP is to attempt to discern what our readers might want to read about, and then find a way to deliver it in an informative and entertaining way. But this Jets thing was going to require us to take our game to a new level, and to listen to what you had to say.

Profiles

Did you want player profiles? Lineups for every game — home AND away? TV schedules? Criticism of players and coaches? Video reports and live hits from games and press conferences?

Since that momentous day, we have experimented, tinkered and adjusted. And as a new year is upon us we plan to continue to strive to provide what it is you are looking for — not only from the Jets, but the Bombers, our amazing curlers, the burgeoning high school sports scene etc.

There were many highlights on the local sports scene in 2015 — the city hosted some of the world’s top soccer players during FIFA’s Women’s World Cup; the Edmonton Eskimos scored their 14th CFL title, winning the 103rd Grey Cup at Investors Group Field; swimmer Chantal Van Landeghem was a double gold medallist at the Pan Am Games in Toronto; Braden Calvert’s curling team won its second consecutive Canadian junior men championship and the Portage Terriers won the RBC Cup Canadian junior A hockey crown.

And of course, those Jets qualified for the post-season party for the first time since their return, prompting what was clearly the most electric night of the year in local sports with the return of the White Out for the first NHL playoff game in Winnipeg since 1996.

Memorable

Surely 2016 will provide its memorable moments as well (perhaps the Bombers making the playoffs?), so I thought I’d let you know a few things we have planned here at the FP sports department to help capture those events.

I know most of you out there are big fans of Doug Brown’s column — at least that’s what he tells me. So, while watching a Jets game from my pressbox perch earlier this season, I got to thinking it would be great if I could find someone to provide insight on the local NHL team as informatively as Doug does on the local CFL squad.

After numerous inquiries and soliciting the advice of colleagues, I am excited to announce ex-NHL player Scott Campbell is joining our team.

Campbell, you may recall, was a member of Jets 1.0 for a couple of seasons and also played for the WHA Jets team that won the last Avco Cup in 1978-79.

The former first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues (1977) is an avid follower of Jets 2.0 and has penned a number of yarns for winnipeghockeytalk.com and is known within the Twitter crowd for his candid assessment of the Jets and the NHL.

We look forward to the perspective he will bring to our pages. Campbell’s columns will appear on Fridays, beginning Jan. 8.

Playbook

Something else to watch for next week is the Free Press Playbook.

The daily newsletter I will be sending out to subscribers will advise them of what our top stories are for the day; what we’re working on in the next few days; what happened in the world of sports from the previous night; and links to some interesting stories, features or videos myself or one of my staff found especially interesting.

And not too far away is a morning feature from our incomparable Ed Tait. Our working title is Tait in the Morning, where Eddie will provide his take on four or five things from the previous night’s activity in sports.

Finally, while I am tasked each day with attempting to figure out what it is you want, I am quite often told I don’t know everything so I would welcome feedback from you.

How are we doing? Is there something you would like to see more regularly? Is there something you would prefer to not see at all? Feel free to give me a call (204-697-7285) or shoot me an email. I’m always willing to listen, see if we can accommodate the request, or perhaps provide an explanation.

Happy New Year and all the best in 2016!

steve.lyons@freepress.mb.ca

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