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The State of the Rink: An Update

Where we are, where we’re (potentially) going, and when everything will happen.

Capitals Alex Ovechkin Chuck Myers/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Back in February, we learned that Vox Media – parent company of SB Nation – had decided to pull the plug on the majority of its hockey coverage (as well as many of its soccer, basketball, and other sports sites). At the time, our future as a site and a community was pretty bleak, and we didn’t know a whole lot about what lay ahead for us.

Things are a little bit clearer now, so we wanted to let you all know what will be happening and what to expect going forward.

First and foremost, this site and all related links will, sadly, be disappearing after the end of this month. Our contracts with SBN are up as of March 31, and they will no longer be providing support or hosting us in this space. But that doesn’t mean we’re disappearing - right now, our goal is still to build a new home for this special corner of the internet that we’ve carved out for ourselves and our many wonderful readers (that’s you guys).

So…you probably have questions. We’ve got (some) answers. Let’s get into it with a little Q&A:

You’re going away???

We are, but we are about 98.2% sure that it’s only temporary. Like the Caps, we are retooling on the fly, but if we do this thing, we want to do this right and make sure we have all our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed before we set up shop in a new location. There are things in the works and we’re doing some research on what a new site looks like – and because all of us have full-time jobs, families, friends, and other commitments, it’s not something that we can really do quickly, nor do we want to if we are going to provide the quality we want to provide.

So yes, we’re pulling the plug for just a few months to do all of this.

We also, frankly, could use a little break. Most of us have been doing this for at least a few years; a couple of us have been writing about this silly team for almost two decades, with founding father J.P. being one of the original Caps’ bloggers, and Becca and our retired pal Peerless establishing their own sites shortly after (RIP A View from the Cheap Seats). That’s years and years of Clips, recaps, trade announcements, signing updates, analysis, Rink Wraps, coaching and management changes, and of course, one glorious Stanley Cup.

It’s a lot. And while this is a true labor of love, it is a labor, and with the Caps deciding this is the year they were going to take a little vacation right in the middle of the season…let’s just say the timing seems perfect for a little vacation of our own. So there will be no more recaps, Clips posts, etc. from April 1 through the end of the season.

That’s not to say you’re getting rid of any of us altogether, of course. You’ll still see most of our ramblings on the Twitters (as long as that hellscape exists, at least). We just won’t be providing any content – and in fact this space will completely cease to exist – as of April 1.

When will you be back?

Our goal right now is to have our shiny new site, in its new home (with, potentially, a new name?), before the NHL Draft this summer. This should be a really interesting summer for the Caps, and we definitely don’t want to miss out on talking about everything that’s about to happen. We will post updates whenever and wherever we can, so keep an eye out!

What will be available on the new site?

We are very grateful to our SB Nation contacts for helping provide us with our archive file at the end of this month, which means all of our content from the inception of this site through the last post we hit publish on will be available on the new site.

What won’t be there, unfortunately, is an archive of our comments. There’s just not an easy way to export that, and we’re very sorry, because there have been some great, spirited, funny, and downright weird discussions in our comments over the years.

But hey, think of it as a clean slate. Now no one will ever know the time you defended the Martin Erat trade.

Will I have to pay?

We are still looking into what makes sense, because it’s not free to host a site and we want to make sure our writers are compensated in whatever way we can for their time and effort – but right now, we don’t have a firm plan for a subscription-based format. If we ever do go to one, we will do whatever we can to a) make sure as much content as possible is free, b) ensure that being part of the community is not contingent on paying some monthly sum, and c) keep any monthly subscription fee as low as we can. We’re not in this to make money; we just want to cover costs.

In the meantime, while we look to set up our new space, we are launching a GoFundMe – the goal we’ve set should help cover costs of domain hosting, podcast production, paying anyone who helps us get the new site up and giving our writers some sort of payment for the first few months, and anything else that comes up.

We are so grateful for any and all support, monetary or otherwise, so if you are able to chip in something to help, we thank you. If you are not able to or don’t want to, we thank you for supporting us by reading, commenting, etc… and love you (almost) as much.

Can I apply to join the writing team?

YES. We put out a call for new writers last year, and got many wonderful submissions, but someone (we’d never throw them under the bus for something like this but the name rhymes with Tecca) never fully got around to reviewing those submissions and making a decision. So…yeah.

Anyway, we want to invite anyone who reached out last time, along with anyone else who might be interested in writing about the Caps, to apply! We have this lovely Google form for you to fill out and everything. The only requirements are a) some sort of writing sample (see the form for more details) and b) a passion for the Caps and hockey in general.

As noted above, we are working on what our funding will look like. Our goal is to provide at least some sort of stipend to anyone who joins our team, but we will know more about that once we have an idea of what our financials look like and how many contributors we ultimately have.

Hopefully that answers everything you may want to ask, but if you have other questions, please drop them in the comments below or reach out to us via email, on Twitter, etc. and we will do our best to provide answers.

Finally, just one more thanks to all of you, the members of the weird and wonderful community that has grown up around this site over the years. You all are the reason we’ve been around so long and a huge deciding factor in where we ultimately end up - please know that your words of support over the last month or so have not gone unnoticed and are greatly appreciated. We are a little scared, naturally, about taking this next step but are mostly super excited about it and looking forward to bringing you all along on this journey with us!