Shutting down the blog is something I've been thinking about for awhile now. Before anyone asks, it has absolutely nothing to do with this past season. My close friends can attest to that because I told them before the season even started that this was likely the blogs last season.
I think it's time to move on. I've noticed in the last year or so that the blog just hasn't been that much fun for me. My heart is just not in it. I wish it wasn't that way, but that's just how it is. I always told myself that when it's not fun anymore it's time to shut it all down. It's been a great ride but I'm ready to concentrate on other things.
When I started this blog back in February 2009, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would grow into what it is today. My intentions at the time were to create a place online to post my thoughts after each Stars game. I certainly didn't think at the time there would be a lot of people interested in reading my inane ramblings.
But it grew and grew....thanks to all of you. When the local paper's coverage of the Stars continued to disappear, we grew even larger. I'm really proud of what WE built here. Stars fans are ravenous. They want to know more than just the final score. Over the years, I tried to give them what they deserve, which is more than just a few sentences from the paper from someone who wasn't even there, or a link to a boxscore.
When writing blog articles, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the common Stars fan. What would they want to know about a game, a trade, draft, tryout camp, etc? What information, not provided to them by the team or the local paper, would be something they'd be interested in? At the same time, I tried to write from the perspective of a fan. I never portrayed myself as part of the organization. I didn't want to be influenced by other entities. If the Stars didn't play well, I said just that. I didn't want to just blog about puppy dogs and rainbows. Although I was quick to offer constructive criticism, I was also quick to praise when I saw the Stars play well.
So I hope I was able to give the fans something they found useful. I'm certainly no expert, but I'd like to think I've watched and played enough hockey over the years to successfully impart my thoughts and feelings about the sport on this blog.
Without a doubt, the absolute best part of the growth of this blog has been the opportunity to meet and befriend so many great people over the years. I am truly, truly blessed in that regard. Stars staff, players, parents, family members, fans, fans of other USHL teams, etc. This blog has allowed me to build friendships that I'm sure will last the rest of my life. I am eternally grateful for that.
I thought about asking around to see if any Stars fan(s) out there wants to take over the blog, but I think the best decision is to shut it down. I'd hate to have someone take it over and then flake out on the responsibility. I'll probably keep the site up for the next couple of years, but I suppose eventually I will not pay the fee to renew the domain. A lot of time and effort went into the 1,363 articles posted here and I'd hate to have to delete it all tomorrow.
I'll shut down the blog's Facebook account, but I will keep the Twitter account open. I love Twitter too much to walk away from that. However, I will change the blog's Twitter account to my personal one.
I have a ton of people to thank, so let's get right to that.
Big thanks go out to the original Stars' front office staff: Jim Pflug, Steve Zoucha, Jen Morand, and Micki Buhrman. When this blog was in its infancy, they could have easily ignored me. When I had questions, each one of them were always responsive, kind, considerate, and informative. Jim Pflug especially was great to "work" with and was always accommodating considering my role as an unofficial blogger. Jim and his staff never made me feel like an idiot with a blog, when that's really what I was (and still am). Micki, especially, continues to be the heart and soul of the Lincoln Stars. You aren't going to find a more beloved front office member than Micki. Always friendly, always courteous, and always willing to help. Micki is, quite simply, the best.
I really didn't get a chance to "work" with much of the new Stars staff, but Jon Hull was someone that was very friendly to me from the beginning and open to questions when I had them. I wish him nothing but success in building something special here in Lincoln.
Thanks to Brandon Anderson (BA Photos) and Barb V. (Shooting Stars Photos) for allowing me to share their incredible photography on this blog. Words are ok, but being able to share game photos on this blog really helped me convey my message to all of you out there in Stars Nation. Both are extremely skilled at what they do and I am proud to have shared their work here.
Big thanks to Brian Werger, Director of Communications for the USHL. Just like the majority of the original Stars' staff, Brian never treated me like an outsider. Whenever I had a question about anything, he was quick to respond. The USHL is lucky to have Brian on their team.
Thanks to Stars radio announcer and historian Mike Melbye for his support of the blog. Like everyone else with the Stars, Mike could have ignored the blog but he has always a big supporter and has asked for my input on certain things, which is appreciated.
College hockey/NHL journalists such as Chris Dilks, Brad Schlossman, and Chris Peters are guys whom I respect a ton, and I really appreciate all of their support over the years. Each of them were always open to questions when I had them. Scouts such as Andrew Weiss and Dan Schrader are two guys I respect a lot as well and have valued their opinions.
Behind the scenes, there are a number of people whom I can't thank publicly but they know who they are. These are people I exchanged emails/notes with almost daily. A lot of these people would keep me informed of Stars related news to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Keeping Stars Nation informed of the latest news can be a lot of work, but these friends helped me out tremendously.
My good friend, Scott C., from Omaha is someone I met because of the blog and he has helped me with a lot of graphics stuff behind the scenes. Scott and his wife commute from Omaha for every Stars home game. You won't find two more committed Stars fans than them. Much thanks to Scott for his help and more importantly, his friendship.
Although I only met Jason O. recently, he has helped me with a lot of Stars related stuff behind the scenes on the blog. He has been a great resource and someone with whom I could bounce ideas around.
Thanks to my valued friend, Ryan W., who is someone I met through hockey about 10 years ago or so. Ryan's "Unofficial USHL Blog" had a huge influence on me, and was a big reason why I decided to create this blog back in February, 2009.
Huge thanks goes to my friend, Nate (aka BellTolls), who has helped me with the blog since almost the beginning. A lot of what he helped with was the behind the scenes stuff, but his assistance and friendship over the years has been invaluable.
Without the love, support, and patience from my incredible wife, Trishia, I would have quit a long time ago. She frequently joked that I was married to the blog during hockey season. She has been my rock and I want to make up to her all the time I lost during my "marriage' to the blog.
Lastly, I'd like to thank the best junior hockey fans in the entire world; the die-hard, true-blue fans of Stars Nation. You folks are the best. I've said it a million times, but without the fans, I'd just be talking to myself on the blog. You were the fuel that kept me going all these years.
Thanks again to everyone who made this blog a daily stop on your internet rounds. I truly appreciate all of your support over the years. It was a blast, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
-Tim Sattler (Yeti)