Sunday, May 6, 2007

Our weekly series on cool media folks - Meet Dan Hickling

How would you like a sports writing job that takes you tens of thousands of miles across the Northeast each year? To minor league and junior hockey venues, minor league baseball, NHL and other events? For Buffalo native Dan Hickling, this is indeed his assignment, and he has become an institution in media rooms across the sports spectrum.

Dan now lives with his beautiful wife Deb outside of Portland, Maine, is the 9th generation of "Dan Hicklings" and is known as "Dan the 9th". His newest grandson, "Dan the 11th" was born a few years back.

As a sportswriter, his primary gig is with the Providence Journal, where he covers the Boston Bruins, Providence Bruins and Pawtucket Red Sox. He also free lances for many other publications and websites, and it is that work that takes him on the road for roughly half the year, and that includes regular visits here to Dunn Tire Park, as well as to Sabres gmes when the Bruins come to town.

Dan might no longer live in WNY, but his sports heart is with our teams here. Back in 2004, he predicted the Bisons would win the IL North by ten games and go on to win the Governors Cup. They did just that. He is unashamedly a Sabres fan and follows the team closely from afar.

As we have traveled across the region, Dan has often offered us his advice and material support to assist us in our journeys... everything from who to talk to to get credentials/interviews etc... to where the best media food is... he has introduced us to more than a few media celebrity types. In 2004 we attended the AHL All Star Game in Manchester NH, and as we're talking with Dan and running down our itinerary, which included a Providence Friars basketball game at the Dunkin Donuts Center, Dan said "what do you mean you guys don't have press passes for that!? Call so and so, better yet, email him and mention my name and he'll take care of you!" So we email this guy, mention Dan's name, and sure enough, there were two press credentials at the door for the game, and one of the most awesome media spreads we've ever enjoyed on the USRT!

Dan loves his work... and everyone who knows Dan loves the guy. Having a good friend like him is what makes doing this all so worthwhile. Still left on the USRT "to do" list is a AA Portland Seadogs game. We're hoping that once we do get up there, we catch "pesto night at the Hicklings." Deb will then have to set two extra places at their dinner table, because we are crashing!

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