Hockey Talk with a Hockey Historian: Jennifer Conway

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When it comes to the National Hockey League, there have been a lot of great moments, plays, players, coaches and stories.

One person who is extremely interested in hockey’s past is Jennifer Conway, also known as @NHLhistorygirl. Jennifer was kind enough to tell us about how she got into hockey, how she became a hockey historian, some interesting hockey-history items she has, and more.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
JC: I had a crush on a defenceman when I was about 10. Lost the crush and kept the hockey.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
JC: I’m a Habs fan, always have been, but growing up, Theo Fleury and Saku Koivu were my guys. Fleury because he was little, underestimated and fierce. Saku…is a love I can’t quite articulate. I think it’s because he’s humble, very talented, and able to overcome all the injuries and cancer with a fantastic attitude.

PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a hockey historian?
JC: It wasn’t until around 2007 or 08 that I actually considered it. I was in a MA program for Literature and wasn’t very happy. I began writing about hockey stories I found interesting, which led me to write occasionally for Joe Pelletier and www.greatesthockeylegends.com. I decided to switch to history and never looked back.

PH: What have you done as a hockey historian so far?
JC: The thing everyone knows me for right now are the hockey facts I tweet, including 3 pm This Date in Hockey History. The other thing people know me from is the Cold War on Ice documentary. I’ve provided research for Steve Whyno and been able to interview several players, and Jacques Demers. Right now I’m working on my thesis, which should be published after I graduate.

PH: What are you looking to accomplish as a hockey historian?
JC: I want people to have pride in knowing what their team’s accomplished in the past. I have found it’s also a way to help people connect. Sometimes I’ll tweet a fact and someone will say “My grandpa was at that game!” I get warm fuzzies from knowing it’s helping generations connect.

I also want teams to preserve their own history. Not just for fans, but because players should have a sense of history and pride in the sweater they put on. The whole organization should.

PH: What are some interesting hockey items, books, memorabilia that you have?
JC: I have a poster from a hockey history in Montreal exhibit and many books, including a first edition of Punch Imlach’s biography. I also have a NHL chess set from the 1990s, tons of cards, a Fighting Saints shirt signed by the Hanson Brothers, and I’ve been helping my son collect autographed cards, especially goalies.

PH: Are you in frequent contact with other hockey historians out there whether it is for writing, editing, doing research, etc.?
JC: There are two historians I stay in contact with: Joe Pelletier and Liam Maguire. Between the three of us, we have a lot of sources and connections to other historians.

PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
JC: Yes. I’m a big fan of Defending the Blue Line, and a. trying to run a series of progressively longer runs (from a 5K to a marathon) to raise money for them in Derek Boogaard’s memory. [the story why is on my blog]

I’m very outspoken about compassion and understanding when it comes to mental illness, and that’s why I often tweet about my own (Bipolar, PTSD and anxiety). I hope to help anyone I can in this small way and I welcome dialogue about it.

Finally, I have a history blog where I write about strange and quirky but completely true hockey history. I welcome suggestions and requests!

 

On top of his work for Kukla’s Korner, Patrick covers the NHL for the Red Light District Hockey Blog and also contributes to Sportsnet.ca.

Prior to writing for the above-mentioned outlets, Hoffman’s musings have been published on TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Spector’s Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com, here on NHL Home Ice from 2008 to 2009, as well as a slew of others.

For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.