Chris Johnston: My new chapter at the best place to tell the NHL’s inside stories

As a child growing up in small-town Canada, I had a unique obsession: NHL transactions. While my peers were focused on improving their hockey skills, I was fixated on analyzing the behind-the-scenes moves of professional hockey teams. I would proudly proclaim to anyone who would listen that I was going to be a hockey reporter when I grew up.

Looking back, it might have made more sense for me to aspire to be a hockey player, an astronaut, or even a fireman. My grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Maloney, clearly didn’t understand my passion, as evidenced by her comments in my writing journal.

“You sure like to write about hockey!”

“Good, can you now tell me about something else?”

“Can you write about another idea now?”

Despite the confusion I caused, I remained dedicated to my dream. As I grew older, my passion for understanding the inner workings of the NHL only intensified. I wanted to know how contracts were structured, how trades were made, and what players and coaches were really like. I craved knowledge about all aspects of the sport, from logistics to media interactions.

These early experiences fueled my desire to pursue a career in journalism and relocate to Toronto. And now, I am thrilled to announce that I am joining The Athletic, a company that embodies the highest standards of sports writing. This is truly a dream come true for any sportswriter.

The declining state of the industry makes it abundantly clear that The Athletic is the premier platform for sports journalism. I’m excited about the opportunity to cover stories about all 32 NHL teams, providing in-depth information and analysis alongside esteemed colleagues.

What sets The Athletic apart is the extraordinary talent within its roster of writers. I am honored to be among them and eager to contribute to our collective success.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing unforgettable moments in hockey history. From Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal to the Washington Capitals’ triumphant Stanley Cup victory, these experiences have shaped my passion for storytelling.

But the beauty of this sport lies in its ability to constantly generate new stories. As I embark on this new chapter with The Athletic, I look forward to walking through the doors of Scotiabank Arena tonight to witness Connor Bedard’s first NHL game in Toronto.

There is always something new to discover in the world of hockey.

(Graphic: Eamonn Dalton)


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