Sleekageddon: A Blogger Retires

Now Scott Niedermayer and I are both retirees!

You win, Mayas. And you win, lockout.

Uh-oh, guys.

This looks official:

Per our discussion, I am writing to confirm that your Blogger Agreement with Vox Media, Inc. which applies to your contributions at Battle of California is terminated as of December 21, 2012. We appreciate the contributions you have made on BoC.

We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors!

Sincerely,

Travis Hughes
NHL Editor | sbnation.com

My last day, and there's lots of people to thank (clears throat):

* * *

Thanks to Sacamano, Fenwick, and Grabia for introducing the hockey internet to the "Battle of..." blog concept, and demonstrating why it is the best damn format imaginable. Who wants to write to just one team's fans about one team's storyline all the damn time? The real heart of being a hockey fan is in its rivalries, and those guys showed why "Battle of..." was the best way to go.

Thanks to Benjamin, Dellow, Lowetide, Covered in Oil, Irreverent Oil Fans, Black Dog Hates Skunks, Jes Gőlbez, Kukla's Korner, and James Mirtle for also introducing me to the hockey blogosphere concept. Back when I was a young slacker at a day job, these were basically all the blogs that I knew existed, but I read and enjoyed them quite thoroughly. They showed that the strength of a blogosphere is in its diversity -- some were numbers guys, some were story tellers, some were news breakers, and some were just silly -- but it worked well when everyone did what they did best.

Thanks to James Mirtle for starting the blog. Even as a prop gag at its origin, having Mirtle put BoC on the map was tremendous. Because he started the blog instead of me, I know basically nothing about early-blogger struggles to generate web traffic. Mirtle's been great to this blog throughout -- even brought us over to SB Nation -- and he's a blogger I'm very happy to see get employed in the profession of writing about hockey.

Thanks to BoC's early writing staff. Mike Chen, PJ Swenson, Cheechew, and James O'Brien -- Chen and PJ's presence were also huge for early BoC, and James O'B, though he never quite covered the Kings like he was supposed to, wrote a solid stretch in those blogspot days. It was another good blogging lesson for me, in that everybody was writing posts at their own pace, and it was working. Which is why we continue to be awesomely disorganized to this day. :)

Thanks to BoC's shortest-term writer, Ken Armer, for being so fireable. I thought bringing aboard another Ducks writer would work out, but he was just copying AP stories or something -- he needed to bring more than that. I vowed never again to bring on another Ducks writer -- oh, hey Jer.

Thanks to BoC's regular commenters -- too many to properly list out. But definitely some shoutouts to Spade -- the guy never ceases to spice up comments sections, and his fanposts rule; Angy -- the absolute best at shrugging off terrible "Ang is old" jokes told in perpetuity; Sleza -- our faithful Finnish translator with an awesome overseas perspective; Mako -- anybody who contributes cartoons to BoC rules, obviously; Dodger Blue Balls -- commissioner of the BoC Fantasy Hockey League, and zero times has he locked out that league. And the rest of you, too -- BoC comments sections are steadily awesome.

Thanks to BoC's lurkers. We love you, too. Thanks for quietly visiting.

Thanks to the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks franchises for not being assholes. I don't really know why they would be, as we're basically free advertising for them, but BoC sometimes wanders into grey areas, but we've never had any issue ever with representatives of the teams that we cover. They don't really know we exist, probably, but that's better than them trying to meddle into our blog content.

Thanks to Samsung for being assholes. They did meddle into our blog content, and they had their reasons, but it helped me to avoid complications about sponsored posts from that day forward. And hey, it's a solid part of my blogging legacy now. :)

Thanks to Judson and Chet Couture.-- our other messy affair. Good times, those.

Thanks to SB Nation's Logo Master for letting me draw our blog logo even though it turned out to be the only instance of that happening. Whoops! It really wasn't meant to be the statement that it turned out to be, but at no point was any anger or anything directed towards me for it. Thanks for being cool.

Thanks to anybody who ever wrote a fanpost, a fanshot, or sent us in some free material. I think we pretty much published all of it.

Thanks to blogspot for never deleting archives. I still love that old site.

Thanks to SB Nation for (a) bringing us on board, (b) trying to split us up but giving up pretty quickly, and (c) not kicking us off for any of a handful of reasons. Mirtle enlisted us to fill a then-Kings and Ducks void, which we sort of band-aided for a while but refused to adequately fill. But as individual Ducks and Kings blogs were started and BoC became somewhat extraneous to the 30-blog model, we've managed to stay in the circuit without any real awkwardness or resentment. Thanks to NHL managers Mirtle, Worley, and Hughes for that. Plus Tyler Bleszinski -- there's solid leadership on this network.

Thanks to the other hockey blog writers on SB Nation -- especially those at Jewels From The Crown, Fear The Fin, and Anaheim Calling. The fact that 30 spots were filled with strong blogs makes the network pretty special, and the fact that we weren't one of those 30 meant that we didn't have to participate in a lot of coordinated activity, or we could if we wanted to. But the fact that there is a Kings, Sharks, and Ducks blog means that we can skimp on our own team coverage and focus on way more important matters like burritos.

Thanks to AOL Fanhouse for hiring me on for a stint as a paid cartoonist, especially after my interview was drinking probably too much liquor with Eric McErlain at Disneyland Hotel. I fizzled out on that job, though -- I was paid pretty handsomely but there was a lot of style to conform to. In the end, it gave me a lot more appreciation about the zero standards here at BoC -- not my best effort, but whatever! :)

Thanks to the NHL for credentialing me for the 2010 entry draft without ever asking me my real name. Turned out to be my only experience with media credentials, and that's fine -- it was cool to experience once, but I'm definitely not a reporter. I think we drafted a kid named Cam Fowling or something.

Thanks to Greg Wyshynski and the rest of the Puck Daddy gang. In terms of hockey blogging, you guys are giants, and it's well-deserved and well-executed. It's just good to know that good bloggers can hit it big, and your Puck Headline mentions are traffic spikes every time. Thanks for including us in some of your eulogy and summer series, too -- glad to have done it.

Thanks to the hockey fans of Anaheim -- sure, we're a lackluster bunch compared to most fanbases, but a lot of that works directly in my favor. I doubt I could ever find an opportunity to buy into Row B penalty box seats in Toronto or Boston or wherever, and even if so I doubt I could afford them. And then who wants to deal with all the beer lines and bathroom lines and parking shenanigans. But Anaheim makes it all too easy -- I lucked my way into the tickets, no doubt, but prices aren't insane and there's not too much hassle in attending. It's great! Suck it, traditional markets.

Thanks to J.S. Giguere -- I'll just quote myself here: "If I were to try to capture Jiggy's legacy in one sentence, it would go something like this: 'When it mattered most, Giguere turned Anaheim's ties into wins.' In the postseason, Giguere played more than 250 minutes of overtime, faced 115 shots that were all potential game-winners and series-changers, and only allowed 1 puck to get past him."

Thanks to Paul Kariya, the key factor in making me into a Mighty Ducks fan. You never were a Duck during the stretch when I was a Ducks blogger, but you led the franchise through its formative years, and were a joy to watch.

Thanks to Teemu Selanne. Every time you put on a Ducks jersey, it was special. Not every franchise gets their own Teemu -- enjoy the hell out of it when it happens -- and you were absolutely the one I was happiest to see lift that Stanley Cup.

Thanks to Sammy Pahlsson, cult hero and Sleek fave. Goal predictions were never the same after you left, but your quiet effectiveness and attention to detail were remarkable -- I always knew how I'd judge a Ducks fan's opinions based on what they said about your on-ice value. And I was all too proud to enshrine you onto Mount Duckmore.

Thanks to Jer and Dunn for bravely stepping into the Ducks and Kings roles here -- not always easy to wander into a blog-in-progress, especially since we're awful behind-the-scenes communicators, but they're already off to great starts. Before they arrived, I had my doubts as to how well the blog would carry on, but now I don't worry about that at all. Happy to pass it along to you guys.

Thanks to Rudy and Meg -- what a wreck this blog would be without you. I enjoy BoC as much as a reader than as a contributor, and you guys not only produce awesome content, but have been great about my generally hands-off approach to blog management. R.I.P., Rudy, and keep up the good work, Meg. You guys rule.

Lastly, thanks to the NHL lockout. You made the decision to retire way easier than it should have been; I didn't even have to Niedermayer the decision.

* * *

Basically what it boils down to is this: thanks to a lot of good fortune, blogging at Battle of California has always been great. We haven't had to change our style or purpose, nor have I had to play blog cop with any regularity. We've enjoyed a ton of creative freedom, we've each been able to utilize our own strengths without much worry about conformity, and though we've crossed lines at time, we've never really had to pay for that.

It's always been my aim that BoC is a place where writers love to write, and while that goal was achieved, a lot happened organically, and that was very cool to be a part of. We never lost sight of my hockey blogger advice: "Remember what side of the glass you sit on," because nothing's truer than writing as a fan.

I'm immensely proud of what BoC has become and will definitely reside here as a commenter. But even though my content-producing days are over with, and that may be bad news for some of you, be happy in the knowledge that between my first blogging day to my last, I never really had to grow up. And I'm grateful as hell for that.

Thanks again, everybody.

Go Ducks.

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