Friday April 20th: Shayne Gostisbehere’s birthday, the Flyers somehow winning Game 5 in Pittsburgh, and the last day Travis Hughes would be in charge of Broad Street Hockey and all 31 of SB Nation’s hockey blogs. Travis is taking on a new challenge, starting Monday May 1st, and is moving back to Philadelphia to take the position of ‘director of digital content’ with NBC Sports Philadelphia. I’m not going to give a backstory here, well because, Travis already did that here. But this post is a collaboration from some of us here at Broad Street Hockey (past and present) giving our thanks for everything Travis has done. This website would have never been able to grow as big as it has without the leadership and direction of Travis.
Hi Travis. I’m going to take this opportunity to tell a quick story. April 15, 2014. “Flyers sign Andrew MacDonald, 6 years 30 million.” I, a casual Flyers fan, am pretty excited about this. We had just given up two draft picks, including a 2nd rounder, so I figured he had to be good. After all, teams don’t just throw draft picks away for nothing - right, Homer? Anyway, I remember opening up twitter and one of the first tweets that I saw was a link to your post about MacDonald’s contract extension. I was surprised to see it was so negative, so I went and read more. I went back to the day that the Flyers traded for him, and from there back to the previous week where there was literally a post titled “Saying no to Andrew MacDonald.”
At this point it became very clear that all of you at BSH had strong feelings about this player. If I may quote Kurt for a second, “throw me out of a window if the Flyers get Andrew MacDonald.” Yea, pretty strong feelings. This was the day I got into hockey analytics. I went to Extra Skater and began to read about different players’ Corsi and Fenwick, along with their zone starts, etc. This was wild to me. I had never seen anything like it before. I just watched the games on TV and went about my day. Now I was being introduced to the world of hockey analytics all because you and everyone else at BSH had such strong feelings about Andrew MacDonald.
Fast forward 4 years later and I’m now a part of the site that got me into analytics to begin with, and have found myself in the middle of my own tracking project. So I want to thank you. Thank you for creating and maintaining a site that made me a more informed hockey fan. This site and the writers that were here back in 2014 were a huge reason why a 16 year old who hated his math class (it was geometry, I still hate geometry) turned into the numbers junkie that I am today.
Congratulations on your new position, I wish you nothing but the best!
Travis brought me into the Broad Street Hockey fold for a very short time a few years back. A brief stint here changed my life drastically as a few months later in the fall of 2015 I was hired to be an NHL news desk writer for SB Nation to work alongside Travis. During my time working for SB Nation and Vox Media, Travis was always one of the smartest folks in the room and quick to make a joke about even the most mundane of things. While you guys know him as the leader at large of BSH, he was my boss for a solid two years helping shape SB Nation’s hockey coverage into what it is today.
All this to say, thank you Travis, for being a great boss, a cool dude, and a life-changing mentor.
Back in 2013 I was an absolute mess — completely burned out from graduate school and stuck in a job that was literally eating away at my soul. So when I saw that Broad Street Hockey had an opening for writers, I figured what the hell I may as well give it a shot. I remember reaching out to Travis, who had me do a mock recap of a Flyers game as an “audition.” A few hours after I sent it to him, he let me know that I would fit in perfectly with the style of the website.
At the time, Broad Street Hockey consisted only of Travis, Kurt (who sucks), and Kelly (Allison J. was brought on along with me). And while I was new to the group, I felt a part of the family instantly. That kind of thing will happen when you spend most of your free time reading a website that you eventually join, but it was also an indication of the type of environment that the website fostered. Everyone was helpful, encouraging of trying out new things, and every bit of criticism ever offered was constructive and done with my best interests at heart. Since then, the website has brought on a ton of writers much more talented than I, but the tight knit feel of the staff never changed.
I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that working environments like that don’t just manifest themselves organically. My other job at the time was also in online publishing, and I can say with full honesty that it was a hostile, degrading experience — something that I truly believe is the status quo in the industry. I think — I know — everything that made writing for Broad Street Hockey different for the better was due directly to Travis. I never one day felt stupid or unwelcome under his management of the site. He let me do pretty much whatever I wanted, and if I stepped over the line, he always approached me with a reasonable explanation as to why. For god’s sake, the dude let me write an entire post about how I tried to get Zac Rinaldo to marry me. And because the way he managed the site is so deeply ingrained in those taking over the reigns, I am confident that this mentality will remain. That’s a huge impact on his part, and one that I think he should be very proud of.
The other reason I bring this up is because I want to make clear just how big of a change in my life it prompted. Like I said above, when I joined BSH, I was deeply depressed and lacked any shred of confidence. Working with Travis made me believe that I indeed could write, and that my words would be well received. This may sound a bit grandiose and flowery, but I swear it’s true — that realization sparked a lot of changes in my own life that led to massive improvements. My new-found confidence led me to demand more at my day job and eventually leave it for a much better opportunity. It improved my demeanor in social settings and made me a genuinely happier person. And while I would never tell him this because my online stance is that he’s a Bad Person, all of this is due to Travis. His bringing me on to BSH was a catalyst that brought me to where I am today. And I’m not entirely sure I would be the person I am had I not met him. He’s also a pretty stand up dude who is fun as hell to be around and get freaky with (Travis will know what I mean, but I promise I don’t mean sex). (I might mean sex). (Just kidding). (Maybe?).
So yeah, Travis deserves a lot of credit for not only building the best Flyers site on the world wide web, but also in fostering at least my and probably countless others’ personal development. To that end, I wish him nothing but the very best in whatever he does, and hope that others get to experience how great of a guy he really is.
Despite my short time here at BSH, I’m very glad to have called Travis my boss and I wish him all the best at NBC Sports Philadelphia. Even with his busy schedule, he was always quick to respond to questions, and provided an extremely warm welcome when I joined the BSH family. This is such an insanely great opportunity for him and I think it’s safe to say we all know he’s going to kick ass at his new job. Thank you for everything, Travis.
Even before Travis brought me on to be part of the BSH team, I knew it was a place that had carved out such a dedicated and passionate reader-base, almost entirely in-part due to his work and passion. BSH was in-your-face. It was everywhere. It analyzed the Flyers and the game of hockey in entirely new ways. And, since it’s inception, you can’t talk about Philadelphia Flyers anywhere on the internet without hearing it’s name.
I’ll keep this short: Travis built BSH into everything you see today, and I’m so glad he’s going to have the opportunity to further his career in this field as a result of that work--and come back home to Philadelphia. I’ve been able to meet so many people following the Philadelphia Flyers and my fandom--both with BSH and through BSH--and that would not be possible without Travis’ work and oversight.
It was September 2016, I was driving home from a long and boring day of class. I was in my first semester of college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. During my drive my phone buzzes, and like a responsible adult I glance down to see what it was. “Holy shit” I exclaimed. It was a DM from Travis Hughes, on twitter. Not going to lie, I was pretty confused at the time why Travis would be reaching out to me of all people. At the time I wasn’t active on twitter, or in the comments of BSH. But dammit I was a huge fan.
So a bit of backstory on my end, once upon a time I was very active on the /r/flyers subreddit, I would be there for every game. I would cut highlights during the game and post them for everyone else in the comments. (Would you believe at the time this wasn’t a common thing? ).
Carrying on, the DM Travis sent me was something along the lines of “hey man are you going to be doing highlights again for this upcoming season (2016/17)?”
We went back and forth a bit, but Travis invited me to join Broad Street Hockey. Which was, as the kids say, lit.
Over my time here at BSH, Travis has helped me grow immensely in this industry and as a person. He’s the type of boss everyone wishes they could have. A down to earth guy who let’s you create whatever you want. Travis opened a huge door for me in this life, and I’m forever grateful for that. I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people, and do a few amazing things too.
NBC Sports Philly is lucky to have Travis on board, he’s going to do a great job over there. And Travis, thank you for everything man.
I do love Travis, how. Sure.