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So Long, and Thanks for All the Octopuses

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(Yes, I know that a lot of people use “octopi,” but octopuses is the most correct term. This is important! (Not really))

NHL: APR 01 Maple Leafs at Red Wings Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For anyone who didn’t listen to the final episode of Fer Sure, I am leaving the Winging it in Motown staff at the end of August.

I will not be able to give the site the attention I need to once this upcoming school year starts, and I am a person who is incapable of “taking a step back.” As sad as it was to realize it, the best option for me is to completely step away.

I wrote last year about how I wasn’t excited for the hockey season, and the events of the last few weeks have made me even more disillusioned about the sport I once loved. I was planning on continuing Fer Sure, but I realized that I don’t want to. I have loved talking to Jay, and more recently Sara, every two weeks about hockey, and while I still love talking to them, I don’t want to talk about hockey very much lately.

It feels like every time the sport takes a step forward, it takes multiple giant steps back. Like I said on the podcast, I’m not trying to persuade anyone to feel the way I do, nor am I trying to say that it’s wrong to care about hockey or anything like that. I just wanted to explain how I feel and why I made the decisions I did.

I wanted to write one final article to say thank you to everyone who has made the last five years here a rewarding experience.

Thanks

First of all, thank you to JJ. Ever since I joined the staff here, he always encouraged me and gave me the chance to figure out what I wanted to do. When I said I wanted to start my own podcast, he encouraged and supported me every step of the way. He helped me to go from a new writer to a site editor in a short amount of time, and I will always remember how hard he made me laugh when we were recording WIIM Radio.

Kyle welcomed me into the staff from day one, and was a very helpful example of hosting a podcast for when I started my own. His passion for the team and for the site was inspiring, and something I hope I was able to embody in my time here.

Prashanth helped me tremendously in my journey to learning about advanced stats and trying to incorporate them into analysis. He always took the time to give me advice and feedback, and he encouraged me as I progressed. I never would have gotten to the point where I was able to present at a sports analytics conference without him.

Jay was an incredible podcast co-host, and while we still talk all the time, I miss recording Fer Sure with him. I can’t believe that I found such a perfect person to host the show with, and I’m very thankful for what we were able to create.

He’s also an amazing friend. A couple of seasons ago, I asked if he would be able to get a Frans Nielsen bobblehead and ship it to me. I would pay him back for the shipping of course. After a while, I was wondering when I would get my bobblehead, but I didn’t want to ask because he was doing something for me. Imagine my surprise when the box finally came, and I learned that the reason for the delay is because he was getting all the bobbleheads from that season, as well as a bunch of other things (see picture below).

Everything on this shelf came in that box from Jay (and there’s more that isn’t in the photo) except for the octopus figurine, which was a gift from Prashanth. I told you that the people of WIIM are wonderful.

When Jay decided he could no longer commit to co-hosting the podcast, I asked Sara to take over for him. I knew that she would be perfect for it, and I wasn’t surprised. She is a fantastic friend and colleague, and I always look forward to her articles. She is easily one of the funniest people I know, which I’m sure is no surprise to anyone who reads the site regularly. She makes me laugh out loud at least once a day when we message each other, which mostly consists of discussion of video games and pets.

I didn’t get to work with Graham and Jeff very long, but I had a great time with both of them on the podcast. I got to meet both of them at different Red Wings games, Graham on my visit to Joe Louis Arena the last year the team played there, and Jeff near my home in NJ for a Red Wings - Devils game.

A few years back, Mike (MikeyLikesHockey) and I wrote the expansion draft series. Mike was a great collaborator, and he also helped me to get a signed puck featuring both Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou. If you would like anyone else traded, please let me know, and I will look for signed pucks to buy.

Thank you to all the other staff writers I’ve worked with over the years. I know that if I tried to name everyone, I would forget someone, so I won’t try.

Lastly, thank you to the readers. The vast majority of the time, I’ve found the discussions at WIIM to be respectful and enlightening. That is a testament to the fantastic group of readers we have. We also have a large group of people who read the site but either never comment or comment very rarely who are incredibly important to the site. And to the readers who read the headline and went straight to the comments to argue that I should have used “Octopi” in the headline, I’m glad that you found something to discuss here. (“Octopodes is also acceptable).

So thanks again to everyone for this wonderful community I had the good fortune to be a part of for the last five years.