Josh Cooper has been covering the NHL since 2010 when he began work as a Nashville Predators beat writer for The Tennessean. He then moved west to L.A. to become an editor for Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog before joining The Athletic – LA in June of this year.
The Athletic has made a name for itself in the hockey world by accruing an extensive list of high-quality journalists, and Josh Cooper is a solid addition to the site’s coverage. Now in nearly every NHL city, The Athletic has employed Cooper to help take charge of Kings commentary in a market that could use a bit more hockey coverage.
Josh Cooper – Informed, Quality, Coverage
There are two sides to Cooper’s work that immediately intrigued me. The first was a two-part interview he did recently with former Arizona Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette, the second was a lengthy article detailing the Kings’ top prospects heading into the 2018-19 season.
Not only is Cooper in touch with the Kings’ prospect pool, giving detailed analysis of up-and-coming players in the organization, he is also puts forth entertaining articles with people readers want to hear from.
Bissonnette is one of the best-known players in the National Hockey League, yet during his career in the NHL he was a 4th line tough guy who used his hands more for punching faces than scoring goals. He now has over a million followers on twitter, which surpasses stars like Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, and Connor McDavid. Cooper sat down for an extended interview with “Biz” to discuss his career (both during and post-NHL) and his struggles with depression.
The interview, while wordy in its entirety, is a quick read. I found myself flying through the conversation, which featured funny moments, but also serious discussion of mental health. As most know by now, mental health problems affect everyone, no matter rich or poor, professional athlete or not. This section of the article highlights the fact that while most of the hockey world may know Bissonnette as a hilarious and care-free guy, he struggled through hardship as well towards the end of his pro career that he was eventually able to overcome with the help of friends he made within the NHL.
Cooper asks thoughtful questions that help formulate compelling articles that everyone should want to read, not just those who are fans of the Kings.
More Than On-Ice Coverage
Along with entertaining and informative coverage, Cooper also writes on topics that relate back to the community.
In a recent piece, Cooper highlights L.A.’s South Bay, where the majority of the Kings call home. A pricey part of town with real estate that can range between one to three million, the area has many perks, along with its close proximity to Toyota Sports Center, the Kings’ practice facility.
Creating this connection between the team and the city allows fans to relate more to the players on a human level. So often professional athletes and celebrities are seen as removed on an intimate level from their fans because of their status in society. But in reality they are people just like the rest of us. The more fans can relate to stars in this way, the more engaged they will be with the team, at least that is the way I look at it.
Cooper talked with a range of current and former Kings players, along with local business owners and organizers to get a feel for what this proximity to the people, and to each other, means for the community and the organization. The Kings participate in multiple charities in the area as well, giving back to the community that supports them.
When it comes to well-rounded coverage of the LA Kings, Josh Cooper has it all. If you’re an avid Kings fan, or just someone trying to learn more about the team, reading his stuff is a great way to get different stories that keep you up to speed on the club while also being enjoyable to read at the same time.