Trusted Journalists

Trusted Journalist Review – Joe McDonald

While the NHL has officially entered its summertime slumber, hockey journalists like Joe McDonald remain hard at work providing engaging content for fans around the league. For Joe, a New Englander by birth, this means keeping his following up-to-date with the latest happenings of the Boston Bruins for The Athletic Boston.

An extensive career

Joe McDonald has been covering Boston sports since 2001 when he took on the position at the Providence Journal. He covered not only hockey then, but baseball and football as well in the forms of the Red Sox and Patriots. In 2010, Joe moved on to ESPN Boston where he spent four years before joining the company on the big stage as a national hockey writer from 2014-2017. For the majority of the 2017-18 season, Joe covered the Bruins for the Boston Sports Journal before joining The Athletic in April 2018.

Joe McDonald: always giving his best

In his opening piece for The Athletic, Joe described himself as a “bottom-six forward”. This is a reference to his no-quit attitude and his drive to not stop until the job is done. And let me say that everything I have seen from Joe in not only his writing, but also in his social media presence, displays those exact qualities.

It is clear that Joe McDonald has not only a passion for writing, but a passion for the game of hockey as a whole. Something that I particularly admire about Joe is his desire to teach fans about the game in a way that you don’t necessarily see from other writers. From engaging with his readers in Q&A sessions to applying video footage of Bruins practices to his work, Joe finds creative ways to show fans, and young hockey players, ways they can deepen their knowledge of the sport.

As someone who is particularly interested in expansion hockey and growing the game on all levels, it is encouraging to see journalists using their platforms to educate fans. In a market like Boston, where edgy titles and “hot takes” are hardly uncommon, this approach is especially refreshing.

Fingers on the pulse

After his time at ESPN came to an end, Joe rejoined the Boston sports scene as a Bruins’ beat writer. For those of you who are unclear on what that means, a beat writer is someone who covers essentially everything happening around a team. Articles are more often factual rather than opinion, and rely heavily on quotes from players, coaches and other team personnel.

That being said, Joe makes sure to keep his writing interesting, with its own personal twist. That can be with the addition of the educational techniques mentioned above, or with an occasional foray into the life of a past Boston hockey legend. In a recent article he profiled former Boston University coach and NHL executive Jack Kelley.

A must-read for Bruins fans

If you follow the Boston Bruins regularly, Joe McDonald is a must-read. This is likely not your first encounter with Joe if you are already familiar with the Boston sports scene. If you’ve only ever seen his work in passing, and never really given his stuff a shot, now is a great time to tune in.


The Athletic is a sports website on the rise, particularly in the hockey world where their coverage is becoming second-to-none. Seemingly every writer I have encountered that works for the site has nothing but praise for its style and model. As I have mentioned in previous articles, there is a paywall subscription to access articles on the site. But by this point, if I have done my job well, you should have an understanding of why that subscription fee is worth the return.

Joe McDonald is one exceptionally talented member of an incredible list of hockey writers that The Athletic now has on staff. A subscription to the site gives you access to a wealth of hockey knowledge and inside info that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

You can find Joe’s stuff on The Athletic‘s website and you can follow him on twitter @JoeyMacHockey.

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