One thing you learn when you’re covering the NHL is that almost everybody is closely affiliated with somebody on almost every team or is one degree of separation away. There are tons of friendships and acquaintances and folks you bullshit with. And some media workers have relatives that work for teams they cover. There is always a degree of professionalism expected and the overwhelmingly vast majority of puck writers and broadcasters, particularly in Canada, exceed that degree.
But then there’s Ken Campbell. Up until 11:37PM last night, the writer for the decomposing artist formerly known as The Hockey News apparently never had any issue whatsoever with the many potential conflicts of interest present in the NHL/media partnerships. In fact, just five months ago he was noting how it was “awesome” that TSN’s Ray Ferraro broke the story that his son signed with Minnesota.
And he was right. It was cool to see Chicken Parm both break the story and, a couple years back, interview his son on the bench. Because this is a game and not, say, the slow-motion choke-out of a republic, it’s not a big deal that Ferraro covers his son. Or that Darren Dreger covers his cousin. Or that Cassie Campbell-Pascall does color commentary for a game in which her husband is an assistant GM for one of the teams.
Yet for some reason, the haughty Campbell decided last night that it was all of the sudden “unacceptable” for the captain of two gold medal-winning women’s teams to provide insight for the Edmonton/Calgary game because she’s married to a guy who works in the Flames front office. He was fine with the thousands of other interpersonal relationships in the NHL media ecosystem for years but Campbell-Pascall was more than he could stomach. Nope, can’t have her have telling us how a play transpired while her husband is scouting the same game.
Predictably, he was rightfully dragged from Miami to Manitoba, by media peers and angry fans alike.
First, he makes up some lame-ass “optics” bullshit. “Optics”? Now? Out of nowhere, “optics” suddenly matter.
Then the seasoned reporter has an epiphany and realizes that he’s been wrong this whole time (even though family covering family was “awesome” five months ago).
What a hypocritical fraud. Some may even choose the word misogynist because he literally never said a thing about conflict of interest with the hundreds of men he’s worked with but decided to do a total 180 on his stance the night a woman was in the booth. What a coinkydink!
Now, after years and years, it’s suddenly a “conflict of interest”. This guy’s such a condescending wanker and deserves all the shit he’s getting for this.
Or perhaps he’s just acting out because he ran The Hockey News into the ground. What was once a top-notch weekly Bible for NHL fans in the ’80s and ’90s went downhill faster than a fat kid in a go-cart. The Hockey News used to be the meat-and-potatoes of hockey coverage but ever since Campbell and Adam Proteau turned a legendary publication into the Hockey Twitter Newsletter, the content is more kale-and-tofu now.
Of course, like all media members, this does not mean Campbell-Pascall is above criticism. So when she accidentally works blue…
…jokes about dropping a spike will ensue.