When I decided to return to the writing scene early last year, I selfishly wanted it to be on my terms – nothing crazy, just something a little different that I could focus on each week to fit into a busy real-world work schedule and what can often feel like a fulltime scouting gig. Lanny Stewart helped make that happen.
But with Stewart’s departure and times changing, I’ve also decided it’s time to move on. This will be my 61st and final column with the Journal. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity Stewart and the Journal provided for me.
As my eyes were glued to the computer last week reading the now former Westman Journal editor’s column on his departure from this weekly publication, Stewart’s piece took me on a trip down memory lane. That very same Bruce Penton, who Stewart wrote about last week, also gave me my first journalism opportunity in Brandon. His first words to me were: “The sports section is yours, go ahead and put your stamp on it.”
While I had a couple of years of newspaper experience under my belt at that point, it was the first time I was handed almost full control in my role. A bit intimidating? Definitely. But with Penton guiding me and there for any questions, I learned more in those two years than I could have ever imagined.
Two years later, it was Stewart who took over following my departure. Fast-forward to nine years after that, Stewart and I discussed a return to writing for me, and in May 2016 my first published piece in eight years appeared in the Journal – Fraser’s Takes was born.
The column started a little all over the place, featuring anything from local events in Brandon to the odd feature or profile story. But it quickly transformed into something else. Fraser’s Takes veered in the direction of my Western Hockey League scouting travels.
Backed by Stewart, the column became somewhat of a junior hockey scouting diary. But what he and no one else realized is that Fraser’s Takes also kick-started a project I had pondered tackling for years, but was never able to get off the ground for whatever reason.
But now that bucket-list item for me – as I mentioned in an earlier column – is starting to become a reality. I’ve managed to put a pretty good dent in what I hope will be my first-ever book. While the plot is still up in the air (I now have an idea in mind), this column has helped fuel my desire to complete this project, no matter how long it takes.
To the Journal: Thank you for the platform. To Stewart: Thank you for the opportunity and freedom to make Fraser’s Takes my own. And to any and all of you who took the time to read this column during the last 61 weeks: I hope I provided some insight into what the scouting world entails while telling some fresh and entertaining stories and showing the lighter side of something that means the world to me.
Who knows what the future holds? But for now, I’ll shift my writing focus to my book. Even though it’s far from complete, I’m more motivated and energized than ever to finish this venture.
Thank you all for reading. See you at the rink…