It is a bittersweet day at Pittsburgh Hockey Now. We’re set to announce several major initiatives and expansion, but today we say goodbye to Matt Gajtka. Matt brought us a new type of coverage with exclusive reports and analytics. Last season, he certainly went through a lot and his willingness to come on board last February convinced us at PHN to go all-in. We were happy to stand behind Matt’s reporting, which in some moments was controversial until others had similar stories, but Matt decided being a hockey reporter isn’t the right fit at this time. We published his farewell, last night. We stood on a frozen pond in sub-zero weather just five months ago to make the introduction, but it seems like forever since so much has changed. He will be missed. And I’m sad to say goodbye to my friend.
Without Matt, PHN’s coverage will change accordingly. We will feature more game and player analysis, features, and news. The plus side is–more Shelly Anderson! Shelly’s slick skills have blown us away and we’ve leaned on her decades of newspaper experience. Many of you probably knew how good she was, but we don’t feel the market really knows what a treasure. Her recent work on the Joe Vitale story was shared globally. And, she and I are working on a really fun feature series to run through August on PHN.
The opening also gave me a chance to reconnect with an old colleague, who also covered the Penguins through the salad days of Generation Next and the emergence of what became a three-time Stanley Cup winning core. Freelance writer Keith Barnes will now be a part of our coverage. Keith will help with our Penguins news desk, morning skates, and practices. You may remember Keith as part of the Tribune-Review’s coverage team for several years, and we’re grateful to the Post-Gazette for sharing his current services. Follow him on Twitter: @KBarnes_pghsprt.
We’re also chasing a young hockey and Penguins writer with great potential. Geography has been a major stumbling block, but I believe she has a very bright future. We’re not done trying to find the right fit. Maybe now, maybe in the near future, we’ll make it work if smart people don’t beat us to the punch.
As for PHN’s major initiatives, the papers are being signed. In deference to superstition and getting too far ahead of ourselves, we’ll wait a few more days to make those announcements but we’re very excited. And nervous. And excited.
Fare thee well, Matty. You did your friend a solid. We wish you were here for what comes next.
Thank you, everyone!