An Email Interview with Adam Proteau of The Hockey News

There is no doubt in my mind that when it comes to hockey publications and hockey outlets, The Hockey News is the king.

The publication has been around since 1947 and its dedication to all things puck is more than evident in every single issue and article. I just became a subscriber last month, and prior to my dad’s passing back on March 31, 2020, he had been a subscriber since the late 80s.

This is why I am proud to present an email interview I conducted with one of its writers, the great Adam Proteau. Proteau has been associated with the publication for many years as both a writer and editor, and he can now add another title, which you will read about later in this interview.

Thanks for reading, and if you have not already, make sure to visit their website and subscribe. I promise you that it is worth it.

PH: Growing up, how did you get into hockey?
AP: As a kid, I was introduced to the game via my dad, who was a beer league goalie throughout my childhood. Also, my grandmother worked at the old CCM plant in northwest Toronto, and she would always get autographs for me from players who’d stop by to pick up sticks and equipment.

I played the game from age seven through 14 and did OK for myself as a defenseman and a kid who was very tall for my age. 

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team (s) and player (s)? How about now?
AP: I grew up in Toronto in the ’70s and ’80s, so the Maple Leafs were my favorite team, and Borje Salming was my favorite player. He was a defenseman like me, and he was so talented, you couldn’t help but like him.

Now, it is a different story, as I don’t really like teams anymore, and rather, I like individuals along the way. He does not play anymore, but Jason Spezza is one of the kindest people I have met in the game, so I always hope for good things for him. 

PH: At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be involved in sports media?
AP: Probably in my first year of journalism school. I had other things I knew I could write about — politics, entertainment, that type of thing — but it became clear that I could write decently about sports that year, and I built on that from there.

PH: Tell us about how you got your start at The Hockey News back in 1999.
AP: I was a failed actor — I studied at Second City in Toronto, and at the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City — but I always got compliments on my writing, so I went to Ryerson University (now Metropolitan University) at age 26. In my first year of studies there, my teacher lived next to Steve Dryden, then the editor-in-chief of The Hockey News, so I had the chance to be a summer worker for THN’s Poolbook.

At that point, my love of hockey, and my love of words came together and put me on the path to being a sportswriter. After that, it was all about taking advantage of the opportunities that came my way.

When I finished up at journalism school, a THN editor decided to leave his full-time job to cover the Salt Lake Olympics, so I got hired as a writer there full-time in 2002.

PH: When you were first at THN, what were you doing for them?
AP: My first jobs for THN were mainly editing — the Poolbook, the Yearbook, and the magazine issues. I did very little writing of my own, but I was constantly rewriting stories from correspondents, who, frankly, weren’t great writers at all.

At that point, I knew I could hang in the business, so to speak. I could write clear and concise pieces, and make changes to other writers’ stories to improve them. That was mainly it.

PH: You were then gone from THN for a bit but then came back. How did that come about?
AP: That is right; I was laid off from THN in 2015 when the magazine/brand was sold to Quebecor. With the sale of the magazine, there were job cuts, and I was one of them.

At that point, I worked as a freelance writer and worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs for a couple of years. Then, when THN was bought by W. Graeme Roustan, he offered me a job writing daily for the website.

Other opportunities at THN opened up for me after that, including the curator’s job that began this month. So it’s been fun. 

PH: What kind of articles are you doing for the publication/website now?
AP: I am writing opinion pieces mostly for the website, and that’s always been my strong suit, so I enjoy that quite a bit.

PH: You were recently named the curator of the new archive at The Hockey News. How does that feel, and how were you afforded this opportunity?
AP: That is a tremendous opportunity that came about in the past year, as the digitization of the back issues of THN slowly took place. Graeme recognized that I was very passionate about the archive, so he gave me the chance to be the archivist, essentially, and I have been thrilled to get started on it this month.

PH: Overall, what is it like for you to say that you are a part of the best hockey publication in the world?
AP: I am just very fortunate for the chance to do this important work, for the gold standard of hockey coverage that is THN. I know that many people would kill for an opportunity to do something like this, so I do not take it for granted, and I continue to do what I think is best — basically, acting as a voice for the hockey community. That has been my approach from the beginning, and that’s not going to change.

PH: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us hockey fans?
AP: Well, I would just say that they should explore The Hockey News Archive, whether they are long-term fans of the game, or if they have just discovered the sport. There is something there for everyone, and I feel grateful for the chance to show people what is in there.

And I would also say a big “thank you” to everyone who has read my work. I hope they find value in it. And I want to thank you for your interest in my stuff. Thanks again!

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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