Ask any high school kid who has spent time talking careers with his guidance counselor, and they’ll feed you the same line:
“Do what you love.”
Riiiight. Unfortunately, playing video games and eating Taco Bell does not pay the rent, so most of us blindly amble through the matrix of college, land our entry-level jobs, and before we know it, we’re 31 years old and firmly embedded in a career. The problem, for many, is that this career is less a result of careful planning and execution of one’s dreams and more a function of whomever would give us a job out of college. What pays the rent at 22 becomes the daily grind at 32, and it can be very difficult to change course without significant sacrifice.
Thankfully, some smart folks out there invented the internet, which subsequently lead to things like mailing lists, blogs, and email. Because of those advances, I’ve been able to experience the joys of backyard rinkbuilding and created memories with my family that I might never have been able to create otherwise. Not only that, technology has allowed me to create this website and carve out a niche in a sport I’m incredibly passionate about. Along the way, I’ve met tons of like-minded people and formed personal relationships that transcend the hobby we share, and I’ve been able to use this site as a creative outlet to express myself in ways I can’t within the boundaries of a spreadsheet. Over 115,000 people have visited since we opened the doors as Backyard-Hockey.com in February 2010, and I take tremendous pride in being able to share what I know and what interests me with you all.
About a year ago, one of my favorite non-hockey bloggers wrote the following:
If you have a big dream, you should find a way to pursue it.
Derek calls it the hell yes moment – when you hear about something that sounds amazing, don’t worry so much about what else you have to do to make it work. Just say hell yes. You’ll be scared about it in the beginning and happy about it as you work it out.
That quote has been rattling around in my head for a year now, and only a couple months ago did I have the courage to act on it. The result is what you’re about to read.
Backyard-Hockey.com is no longer just a blog. It is now a subsidiary of Grassroots Hockey, LLC, a company my wife and I formed in New Hampshire last week. In forming a limited liability company, we are taking this blog from the hobby stage to the next level, allowing us to partner with other businesses and be more proactive with the site’s finances. What does this mean to you, the reader? Probably not much. We’ll still pump out relevant content as frequently as possible, keeping you educated and in tune with the world of outdoor hockey. Legality will by no means usurp passion, and that is a promise.
But there’s more to the story. Also under the Grassroots Hockey LLC umbrella is a new company we quietly launched amongst our friends and family several weeks ago. I’m very excited to publicly announce the creation of Elite Backyard Rinks, a NH-based reseller and installer of Nicerink backyard rink products. With the rapid growth of outdoor hockey thanks in part to the pond hockey explosion and Winter Classic success, backyard rinks are becoming more and more common. With the experience I’ve gained working on my own rinks, and wanting to share the backyard rink culture in Southern New Hampshire, it made perfect sense.
My goal for Elite Backyard Rinks are threefold: I want to be able to help families intimidated by the rinkbuilding process experience it without the headaches, I want to spread the outdoor hockey lifestyle in my community, and I want to get my hands dirty and build a TON of rinks! This last goal has some applicability to Backyard-Hockey.com as well: the more rinks I build, the more I learn, and the more experience and knowledge I’ll have to pass on to you. It’s a win all around. And while it’s true that Elite Rinks is hopefully an income-generating venture, it will NEVER affect the words you read on this site. That’s just not how I roll.
So please, feel free to visit EliteRinks.com and ‘like’ our Facebook page. Grassroots Hockey is the legal entity, but as of right now, the plans are to operate separately as both Backyard-Hockey.com and Elite Backyard Rinks.
Finally, a thank you to everyone who has read, commented, e-mailed, tweeted, liked, or otherwise made this venture a rewarding and worthwhile one. A huge thank you to Alex at Backyard Ice (Website – Facebook – Twitter), who has been an invaluable resource from the “I wonder if I can do this” stage onward. This doesn’t happen without his transparency, generosity, and willingness to share his own business experiences. And of course, to my wife, who allows me to stay up later than her so I can finish writing a post, keep our son up late watching the Bruins, and who agreed to sign on the dotted line when I told her I wanted to own my own hockey company. There isn’t a better looking co-owner in the hockey world, and that’s a fact.
Going forward, you won’t hear much about ‘Grassroots Hockey’ the company. You will continue to hear a lot about ‘grassroots hockey’ the phenomenon, and I’ll probably sprinkle some Elite Rinks information throughout the site. But for the most part, the changes are occurring behind the scenes, invisible to anyone who doesn’t happen upon this announcement.
And so as I sit here and type this, I look out the window at a forest full of oranges and yellows and reds, the leading edge of the greatest four months of the year. I can’t wait to share it with you, this season and beyond.