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The End Is Nigh

No, this post has nothing to do with Mayans, 12/21/12, or the end of the world as we know it.  It does have to do with that disappointing feeling you have when something that has become part of your regular routine is suddenly gone.  There’s nothing worse than having your favorite TV show cancelled during the summer while still in mid-storyline.  Sadness is driving up to your usual restaurants to surprisingly find it dark and empty.  And of course it’s always depressing to click on one of your bookmarks to find the website it leads to is no more.  So with that, consider yourself warned.  Fear The Triangle will be going on permanent hiatus at the end of this season.

Before I discuss what is behind the end of FTT, it’s probably important to understand the beginnings of FTT.  Before I started the blog I shared most of my thoughts about the UMass hockey program, which I’ve followed since it was restarted in 1993, on the hockey forum over on UMasshoops.com.  In addition to conversing with fellow fans there, I started to follow the team more closely and would pass along whatever obscure news and recruiting information I would come across.  I was already doing the work for my own interest, so I figured I might as well pass it along to other fans.

My posting on UMasshoops went on for some time, passing along whatever links I found, my thoughts on games I attended, and tidbits about upcoming opponents.  Around this same time along came the UMass Football Blog, which was doing similar news consolidation for the football team and I found it very useful and ultimately inspiring.  But the last factor that spurred on the creation of FTT was my job.  I hated it.  No, wait.  I abhorred it with every ounce of my soul.  But it was the Great Recession and finding a new job was incredibly difficult.  So I needed an outlet, a distraction to pour myself into since my career was a source of unhappiness.  So it was that in the summer of 2009 I decided I was going to start writing about something that was a source of happiness for me, the Massachusetts Minuteman hockey team.

I started this blog for myself, not for others.  I started it because I had always enjoyed writing, but rarely get to do much in my finance job.  And I started it to give me something to concentrate on instead of being miserable at work.  And FTT accomplished both of those goals.  I’m not always sure of the quality but I’ve really enjoyed writing FTT, be it recaps or opinion pieces, something I really hadn’t had a chance to do since I was an undergrad studying history and political science.  And I kept my sanity at work and looked forward to when my day was over and I could head home to read and write about hockey.

And I still enjoy doing that today.  So what has changed?  Well, that terrible job is a thing of the past.  I’m proud to say the career is back on track with a demanding, yet rewarding, position working for two of the most recognizable brands in the world; Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts.  I work hard but I enjoy what I do and love working for my company.  But, all that hard work has reduced the time and energy I can devote to FTT.  This was very evident during the coaching search when I did my best to keep readers as up to date as possible on what was going on as circumstances were changing by the hour, but being a sports reporter is a full time job and I already had one of those.  The result was a physical and mental exhaustion that carried over into the fall.  And that same lack of energy and time has resulted in not providing quite the same coverage here as I had in the past, seen in the lack of my View From Section U columns which I was doing weekly last year.

As crazy as work has made things lately, life is going to get a whole lot crazier.  This coming summer my wife and I will be welcoming a a future Minuteman or Minutewoman into the world, University of Massachusetts Class of 2035 or so.  Needless to say that’s going to be a huge lifestyle change, one I am completely enthused to take on, and my four hour round trip jaunts from the South Shore to the Mullins will soon be a thing of the past.  And therefore, so is FTT.  I only wanted to keep this blog going as long as I feel I’m doing it right and dedicating the proper time to it.  That’s just not an option in the near term.  So that is how I came to my decision.

I think I’ll probably save my reflections on FTT and all it has meant me for a later time as there is still a lot of hockey to write about in the next few months.  But I did want to get the word out that this will be the fourth and last(?) season I’ll be writing about the team.  I did that so people won’t be surprised when it goes dark in March/April and perhaps to get other diehard fans thinking about starting a UMass hockey blog to pick up the slack in my absence.  I think I’ve shown that the demand is there for a blog dedicated to Minuteman hockey.  When I first started in August of 2009 the blog was getting about 80 page views a day.  Today in the middle of the season I regularly get between 500 and 600.  In the midst of the coaching search I was getting 1,100.  If someone else wants to take the time to cover UMass hockey and do it well, I can promise you they won’t lack readers.  Though they’ll have to come up with their own nonsensical blog name as I’m not giving up the Triangle.

So that’s that.  I’ll do my best to keep up coverage through the end of the season as long as work allows and my growing family stays healthy.  There is a lot on the horizon though, including buying a house in the coming months, so please bear with me if coverage isn’t quite up to the standards of the past.  But I’ll do what I can and believe me I would love nothing more than to take some time away from packing this spring to watch the maroon and white make their return to the Garden ice.

It hasn’t been a good semester for players originally committed to UMass who ended up elsewhere in Hockey East.  First Joseph Manno left Northeastern because he didn’t like his role with the Huskies.  Now John Parker has been kicked off the Maine hockey team for alcohol infractions.

I’m always proud of UMass student-athletes who enjoy success in the pros after they leave Amherst, but the admiration and respect I feel for Victor Cruz for taking the time to visit and console one of the families of Newtown, CT is off the charts.  What a classy individual and great representative of the alma mater.

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