How do you adequately reflect on covering a major event from start-to-finish for the first time as a website?

I had a nine-and-a-half hour drive overnight to figure it out and I’m not sure I can do it (probably due to grogginess,) but I’m going to give it the old college try.

Banners like this welcomed guests at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. Photo: Matthew Harding/The Sin Bin

First, I want to say this was a huge undertaking for us and we could not have done it without some crucial sponsors; Central Bank of the Midwest, Jackson Auto Body & Custom Paint, as well as Superior Signs and Engraving. Each sponsor plays a vital role in the health of this site and without their contributions, we would not have been able to go on-site and be part of the action.

Next, Indianapolis is a very nice city and it was clear during our time there the Hallett family and Fuel organization spared no expense to make sure the event went off without a hitch. Everyone, specifically Brent Hollerud, was professional and extremely accommodating to the ideas we brought to the table when it came to covering the event for the site. Much of our coverage from Indianapolis would not be possible without him, so we owe him a significant debt of gratitude and probably some good razzing on twitter at some point.

The Sin Bin’s spot for FanFest at the Pavilion at Pan Am in Indianapolis. Photo: Matthew Harding/The Sin Bin

Of course, it takes a larger organization behind the team to make it happen, and it was awe-inspiring to see the ECHL staff; Ryan CrelinDan Petrino, Joe Babik, Valerie Persinger and other support staff work feverishly at all hours of the day and night to make sure every player was checked-in and given first-class treatment, while continuing to ensure the league ran as usual. Many may not know, the ECHL office staff is a small compared to the AHL & NHL, but the work they do is very well done.

With regards to our team, you could not have asked for a better group of people to work with. Each person that you see in the image above and those who had obligations at the arena (Mark Grainda was working the event for Raycom Sports and John Wikman was the official photographer for the event) brought a different dynamic to the team that was accented at some point during our coverage. Mark was a gracious host at our team dinner Saturday night (The Tap is a delicious place to eat, by the way,) and John is one of the best photographers in the ECHL. Every one of them worked day and night to make sure the on-site content we had for you, our reader & listener, was the best it could be.

Team Sin Bin dines and envibes at The Tap in downtown Indianapolis Saturday night. Photo: Mike Campos/The Sin Bin

Our team worked hard to plan our coverage for six months, having weekly meetings before & during the holidays, and phone conversations with members of the Fuel organization. There is so much that goes into planning coverage from major events, and for our first time, I feel like we crushed it. Obviously, there are things from this experience we need to improve and build upon for the next time you see us at a league event, hopefully, sooner rather than later.

I am incredibly proud of the team we have built here. Each editor, writer, and photographer cares deeply about the work they produce and about helping The Sin Bin become the premier source for news across every level of minor league hockey. We are in a good place as a site and the sky is the limit for us moving forward.

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