This week’s Trusted Journalist Review heads to the Canadian-American border, just south of the hub of Canada’s hockey world, where Mike Harrington has been doing his thing covering the Buffalo Sabres since he joined The Buffalo News back in 1987. Harrington, the chairman for the Buffalo chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) is a regular read for those in Western New York looking to stay up to date on their beloved Sabres.
Mike Harrington: A Seasoned Veteran
While most football fans are familiar with “Bills Mafia”, the name given to the die-hard and sometimes controversial fan group that has grown to notoriety for its legendary tailgates and tendency for destruction of inanimate objects (no table is safe here), it may go unnoticed by those outside of Buffalo that many of these same “Bills Mafia” fans are hardcore Sabres fans as well.
Any media member working in city with such an intense and passionate fan base is undoubtedly the subject of greater criticism than those in a market where the local team is less of a hot topic. The fact that Harrington has covered the team for so long, while gaining accolades and rising to prominence as the head of the regions PHWA chapter, should speak to his abilities as a journalist right off the bat.
Sure enough, Harrington’s work immediately checks off a bunch of boxes on my list of things that I like to see in a hockey writer. Released on game days, Harrington writes a “Five Things to Know” piece that highlights interesting facts about the Sabres’ match up that evening/afternoon. His post-game articles often take a unique approach, bringing in statistics from previous weeks or previous seasons to highlight the newly-found success the young Sabres roster is finally enjoying after years among the league’s worst-performing franchises.
Mike Harrington engages with fans on Twitter as well. Which I believe is an important thing to do so long as the conversations had are constructive at the very least. Despite the platform’s notoriety as a space for internet trolls and faceless instigators, there are many people who also use Twitter as a means to communicate with their favorite teams and writers. And if someone has a question on an article they have read it is always nice to see the author take time to respond to inquiring readers.
The Complete Package
It goes without saying that Mike Harrington not only provides his own individual brand of hockey journalism, but also gets down with the nitty-gritty (orange mascots excluded here) of day-to-day life of covering an NHL franchise. That involves a plethora of player quotes and tweeting out injury updates along with commentating on other hockey news not directly related to the Sabres.
When this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class was set to be inducted, Harrington took an angle that related to the team by putting together a piece on Martin Brodeur’s comments on Alexander Mogilny, the first Russian player to defect to the United States to play in the NHL back in 1989. Mogilny, who may be better known for his championship role with the 2000 New Jersey Devils, spent his first six NHL seasons with the Sabres, and set records for the club, some of which still stand to this day. You can read Harrington’s full article here.
For anyone looking to better acquaint themselves with the Buffalo Sabres, reading Mike Harrington’s stuff is a great way to start. The staff over at The Buffalo News has incredibly comprehensive coverage of the team in general, and fans certainly won’t face a lack of Sabres material to feast their eyes upon.