For my first bureau story I wrote a feature article about WVU’s club ice hockey team for The Dominion Post. Because I was not completely familiar with the ins and outs of ice hockey, I conducted some preliminary research in order to better understand the sport. Upon completing my research I got in contact with the team’s first year head coach Zach Sonnefeld and senior team captain Sean McFadden. I arranged to attend one of their practices at the Morgantown Municipal Ice Arena. Finding a way to fit this into my schedule was one of the most difficult parts of the story process because their practices aren’t scheduled until 10 p.m.
Once I finally made it there, however, I was able to observe the players and the coaches in their practice setting as well as sit down and talk about the obstacles that they face as a club team. Sonnefeld said that a major responsibility that he has taken on is increasing the popularity and fanbase of the ice hockey team. He is the developer of a facebook page dedicated to the team which provides information about the roster, competition schedule and more. In addition, they shared with me their goals of being at the top of the rankings and making it to the national tournament.
Some other information that I learned throughout the course of the interview but did not use in my story was related to the WVU’s Division II club ice hockey team. This team has a separate coaching staff, practices less and plays fewer games, but it is intended to serve as a feeder system for the Division I team.
Overall, the experience ran pretty smoothly as all of my subjects were very willing to speak with me. Furthermore, I believe that they were glad to have an outlet to spread the word about their accomplishments and goals and I was happy to help them do so.