John Hoven – The Best and Most Logical Replacement for Rich Hammond

Rich Hammond has moved on. He will no longer work for the L.A. Kings. He has accepted a position with the O.C. Register to cover the USC Trojans. We wish Rich the best.

John Hoven. We know him as the “Mayor”. I know you know him. We all know him. He has covered the L.A. Kings for years. His website, Mayor’s Manor, has steadily grown in popularity. I read it regularly. He is a terrific source of objective and intelligent coverage of the team. Why do I mention this? Because John is the best choice to replace Rich Hammond. When you look at his qualifications, there isn’t even a close second. Let’s go through the facts:

1. A respected journalist: John is a known commodity within the NHL journalist community. His fellow journalists respect him for the quality of his work and behind that work is a quality person. I have listened to him on NHL radio programs. I have read his work. I have listened to opinions of him by other journalists about his writing and coverage. The “respect” to which I refer was earned through years of hard work and dedication to hockey.

2. Respected by the players: If you follow John on Twitter, you will see that the players tweet him directly. If you watch John do an interview (which I have several times at practices), you will notice that he has the player’s undivided attention. Sure, John has been in the media scrums like every other person with a press pass and he has gotten quotes others have but his talent comes through on the one-on-one interviews. He hones in on the topic and gets candid answers. The players obviously feel comfortable with him and are engaged in the dialogue. When he writes a serious piece, it’s serious. When he writes a humor piece, it’s funny. I have not yet sat through an interview John has done with a player and ended it with “that was a waste of time.” There are not a lot of good interviewers out there. Fortunately, we have a skilled one in John.

3. Respected by the fans: This point cannot be underestimated. John has been part of the game for decades. He knows it. If I sat him down right now and talked to him about the X’s and O’s of a breakout, regroup, powerplay or penalty kill, he could have an intelligent discussion with me. If I engaged him in discussion about the team, he would know its history. That is why fans like and respect John. Covering hockey isn’t just a hobby to him. He takes it seriously. He takes the NHL and the L.A. Kings seriously. He has earned our respect.

4. Excellent writer and quality coverage: Have you sat through bad NHL articles? Have you listened or watched poor coverage? Me too. I have yet to sit through one of those written or produced by John. Whether written, audio or video, John does excellent work. His interviews are crisp and without unnecessary distractions. His coverage of the team is in-depth and rich with facts and not just uninformed opinions. John knows what he is talking about and it shows through his work product.

5. Paid his dues: With the exception of the Helene Elliots and Lisa Dillmans of the world, I look at others who cover the L.A. Kings and I see something that ranges between passive interest to poor quality. I look at John Hoven and I see someone who has continued to get better, to the point where he is on par with some of the consistently best journalists who cover big market NHL teams. For me, it’s not even a close call. Who brings to the table John’s consistent hard work, quality work product and years of dedication to the craft? Of those who could fill this position, nobody.

Why do I write this article? Because I care about the position of “Insider.” I want it to mean something special. I want to read it daily and look forward to reading it.

I want “Insider” to have merit and have someone in that position who has the necessary credibility and has earned the title. The L.A. Kings are Stanley Cup Champions. Nobody who has covered the L.A. Kings fits the position to serve as our Insider more than John Hoven.

I hope he wants the position…because he has my full support.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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32 replies

  1. Excellent endorsement. Very sorry to see Rich go but if John brings what you say he can to the position I am behind you.

  2. Personally I am on the fence. The reason why is because would it mean that John would become a ‘spokesperson’ and/or limited in his pieces? Would his articles and the timing of them possibly be influenced by the Kings? This is my objection, my only objection.

    It has been obvious that Hammond has been under ‘house arrest’ at times when it comes to information and the timing of information. I would hate to see John limited this way.

    Other than that I completely agree with everything you point out. I just would hate to see John’s opinions, viewpoints and style be limited because he was now an employee to the organization.

    Hammond did OK. Personally I don’t find that good enough when it comes to being the “Insider”. He wasn’t a passionate Kings fan and it was clearly visible. Hoven on the flip side is the opposite of Hammond. John cares about and loves the Kings like the rest of us obsessed idiots. He would make a very good “Insider”… long as Liweekly, DL, Luc or Altieri don’t muzzle him.

  3. I am glad to see Hammond go. His tenure was pockmarked by poor editing, “acne-ed” by late-breaking-news and I don’t mean that in a positive way, “lesion-ed” by inconsistent enforcement of his own rules, festered with open-sore favoritism and worst of all, scarred by indifference.
    His admission to not being a “Kings fan” was accepted and understood. Okay, so he isn’t a homer, it was his job to report first, with deference to the Kings’ fans’ perspectives but not to the point of inaccuracy or propaganda, blah blah blah. But come on, like he didn’t feel good when the Kings scored a goal, or won a game? No, we were supposed to believe he was objective, and just an observer.
    Well, this quality of supposedly being “dispassionate” (unbiased) actually came thru as unimpassioned (apathetic). His style wasn’t really objective, it was just dry, as arid as Aridzona, or better yet in dry in a dearth of desire, let’s say Dearth Valley.
    My real problem with Hammond’s attitude, demeanor and decisions crystallized when he was allowed and accepted the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup. His picture doing so is on the Kings site right now, as I write this.
    I can’t even find words to properly describe the disgust I feel seeing that picture with him smiling, as he hoists the Grail won by a team with which he was always very careful not to admit “liking.” The gall, the hypocrisy, the selfishness, the contradiction of values and the downright immorality of him doing such a thing is, as they say in the back rooms of the Supreme Court and in all other hallowed halls of adjudicated propriety, “fucked up in the head.”
    Sorry if I got too technical in that last part.
    As for Hoven, does he actually want the job? Do we want to lose his independent blog and have it replaced with a new, corporate-sponsored version?

    • Meh. He didn’t love the sport or the team. I am sure you can imagine being in a similar situation. Think of a sport and team you don’t like and imagine them offering you a job you couldn’t refuse. Then imagine that that job is pretty tiring and time consuming, requiring you to fly all over the place, but never have any time to do anything, all for something you don’t really care about or have passion for.

      I am not advocating his writings, and I agree with you that it was very dry and apathetic. But at the same time it is completely understandable why it was what it was. I can’t find the quote, but I remember him talking about his cup experience. That he didn’t feel joy for the team, or as if he had won something or was really apart of it at all. He held up the cup because he was pressured to do so by the rest of the media staff and Dustin Brown as they were celebrating in the press box. What is he going to do? Reject them all? When Bob Miller tells you to pick up the cup, you pick up the damn cup.

      I agree that it will be nice getting some life in the position and finding someone a little more passionate on the subject though.

  4. I may be wrong on this, but Hammond is joining a local Orange Co paper that is basically ordinary and scaling down and losing followers, since there are so many competitive news sites as alternatives to newspaper sites. Also, his following the Trojans, that seems a step down also because the usual idea is that college people in media generally want to move up to the big leagues.

    Now, if a lateral transfer to an MLB or NBA or NFL gig happened, that would make more sense to me.

    Also, I am not putting down the Trojans, since I have generally been a fan on football, and baseball at times. We know already about the Trojan basketball issues over the years. Afterall, Hammond will get a decent paycheck and stay in the SoCal area, etc. He will meet many interesting people, some people with bucks, and rabid fans, etc. He will be seeing player turnovers given how students come and go in 4 years usually. If he is a party guy, he will have tons of great parties to go to.
    As for Hoven, I would agree that overall, he would do fine and at least be allowed the same
    level of latitude as Hammond had, and maybe, with his strong personality and integrity, he will push for more and more freedom and objectivity. So, yeah, he can do this very well.

    Sorry to say, I have the DTs with no major league hockey.

    • Unfortunately, for us hockey fans, it is pretty much a step up in the reporting world :P If this were Canada, you would be correct, but in the United States hockey is second fiddle to college football. You also have to remember that USC is Hammond’s Alma mater. He is probably going there because he will get paid about the same, is passionate about the coverage, and will have to travel less. It would be like if we got a job randomly with the bowling federation to cover a bowling team in Arkansas and then suddenly you are presented an opportunity to come back and cover the Kings instead. He is moving from something he didn’t care about to something he is passionate about.

  5. I am in full agreement that the Mayor would be great. I have been an admirer of his for years. Classy writer, and wow what a chirper. Sitting in 119 in the day was a blast just to hear him chirp to the opposing bench.

  6. What is Hoven’s policy on the use of dirty words and lubricious metaphors?

    I mean, being a respected journalist who’s paid his dues and knows hockey is all well and good, but . . .

  7. All I know is that send-off video for Hammond was really fucking weird and that I’m really fucking pissed that there’s no Kings hockey right now. My hate for Bettman and the owners clouds any other thoughts at this time. Fucking dove. FUCK!

  8. I like the idea of the Mayor. I’ll bet that Paul Armbruster guy has already got his resume sent off to somebody in the Kings organization

  9. And here I thought Scribe would want the job so he could finally have that real meeting with Deano. But I guess writing doesn’t pay well enough….

  10. Sounds like the NHL had a hand in Rich’s decision to leave the Kings. They were trying to get involved in what he was blogging about and tried to ban him from interviewing and talking with players during the lockout.

  11. I had a mini-plan in the Mayors section during the 2010/2011 season. Guy was hanging over the rails into the tunnel getting solid information (from the visitors) every game. Hope he gets the spot.

  12. Good idea. I like the attention he pays to the minors, and the knowledge he has about the Monarchs. I cant get enough of that. BTW, anyone know an end run around regulations to get Monarch games?

  13. Agree %100 about the Mayor. Surly would do a killer job also. Either way I predict more traffic to this site which is cool as long as nobody takes my seat. This place is like a bar, don’t need a bunch of yuppies coming here and fucking it up.

  14. Surly and Scribe should take over insider… How much $$ would it take to make you guys pg-13? Salary plus follow and travel with the team… Do IT!!! Talk to Liewieke

    • Hammond is a pussy schoolmarm. Don’t go down his path.

      Remember Lenny Bruce’s warning: Take away the right to say, “Fuck,” and you take away the right to say, “Fuck the government.”

      Hockey-talk belongs in Fehrschmutzik City. It can never be cleaned up. Nor should it be. The truth of that was demonstrated when Quick said, “Look at that fuckin’ team,” and Brown quipped, “That’s why we play the fuckin’ game,” and Lundqvist burped out, “Fuck” while accepting his Vezina award.

      All these guys uttered the Word Made Flesh. It’s effect was electric and immediate and intrinsic to the sport — nay, to sport itself.

      Anybody who wants to change that can go fuck himself.

    • Heh. This leopard’s spots are permanent

  15. I think you guys should take it over. Whoever does takes over the Hammond blog, I want them to lift all the politically correct sanctions. If we want to say something, we should be able to say it on that blog too (although this is one of many reasons to come to SS blog). Anyway, I am sick of having to watch my comments on that blog. Power to the people!

  16. Surly, You going to Long Beach Comic Con?? Might ease the lockout paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaainn.

    All the best

  17. They cancelled more games today. FUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (just in general)

  18. It’s starting to look like the season won’t be dead. The motherfuckers are finally cracking on the one issue where the players kept their dicks hard.

    And what will WE do when the games start to be played? We’ll be groveling for a taste. Groveling, I say!

    Have we no shame? Must they publish our pathetic addition to the whole fucking world?

    But what can we do? They’ve got the pussy.


  1. Yes – that’s half the answer to the question

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