Thank You: One season of The Ranger Zone is in the books

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers salute the crowd 5-8

Just like the Rangers salute their dedicated fans, I salute you for all of the love and support you have shown me throughout the season. Thank you. Photo courtesy of MSG.

On Friday night, after 101 games played from October 9th to May 29th, the New York Rangers’ season came to an end, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, seeing their dreams of hoisting the Stanley Cup fall apart.

Like other fans, I was heartbroken. This loss was much harder to swallow for me. Last season was a magical run to the finals, and after the Rangers went down 3-0, I was almost ready for a loss. This year, coming back home for Game 7, I was sure that the Rangers would move on. The expectations were high, which made the defeat all that more crushing.

With the loss came another realization. No more waking up early to write game previews, no more staying up late writing recaps and looking through all of the pictures from every game. There is no Stanley Cup Final preview, and no article on how to take down the other team. After eight months of writing and devotion to the Rangers, my daily schedule will change.

But that’s okay, because change can be good. And I’ve realized that throughout the year, especially with how much my site and everything else has changed.

Back in October, I was sitting in my dorm room at Seton Hall, wondering how I could be more involved with the Rangers. I had watched them passionately for years, and knew that I had a good understanding of the sport. Being a Journalism major, and hoping to get into the field of sports reporting or broadcasting, I decided to start The Ranger Zone, a place where I could share my opinions and build up my resume.

But it quickly turned into more than that. It wasn’t just something I was doing to build my resume, it became a passion. I began writing an article nearly every day, coming up with new opinions and reporting updates whenever I could. It furthered my love for the team, as I became so involved in following them and writing about it.

When the blog first started, it was very basic. A single column page with no tabs and articles only. But I was extremely proud of it, and all of the work that had gone into each and every article. I was happy to get 10 views a day. Just like the Rangers, I had gotten off to a slow start, finishing with a total of 302 views in the month of October. But I was enjoying myself.

As the season kept progressing, the website began to slowly evolve and develop. As I continued to write about hockey more and more, and reading articles from other websites and newspapers, my writing and knowledge of the sport grew as well, and got better. Also, my website kept getting more popular, reaching over 4,600 views in February alone.

I also changed the website’s appearance, hoping to make it look more appealing and interactive, adding things like tabs and a sidebar, as well as a podcast, and the site began to grow with my writing. I got positive feedback, and you all continued the support. Since February, I have not gotten less than 3,500 views in a month, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Making the blog has allowed me to interact with so many amazing fans as well. I’ve made friends at the 13 games I got to go to, on Twitter, and on the Facebook groups where I post my articles. Not only Rangers fans, but fans of other teams as well. Interacting with everyone has been one of the best parts of the whole experience. Whether it was Stephen Valiquette from MSG, who actually follows my blog, or any other passionate hockey fan, it’s been amazing.

From every Rick Nash goal, to every Henrik Lundqvist save, and with every loss as well, I’ve enjoyed this season more than almost any other. Getting to go to 13 games this season, including two playoff wins, and bond with my cousin and friends, was amazing, and made my year more special. As most of you can understand, when you truly devote yourself to a team, they almost become a part of you, and you ride the highs and lows with the team. With hockey, and with the Rangers, it’s multiplied by 10. The passion and devotion that this fanbase has is amazing, and it was truly a memorable season.

The end of the Rangers’ season does not mean an end to content from the website. I’m planning on making a Facebook page, continuing my podcasts, and posting more articles. I’ll be doing player grades for everyone on the team, updates on offseason news, opinion pieces, and more. So expect the content to keep coming.

But the point of this article is about all of my readers, Rangers fans or not. From the bottom of my heart, I’m extremely thankful for all of the support I’ve had since the beginning. Although I really enjoy writing articles and making content, all of you made the process even better, and keep giving me a reason to update the website more and more.

I haven’t given you all the proper analysis and breakdown that you deserve, but I promise that it is coming. I guess I can say that I’m an aspiring journalist, but more importantly, I’m a fan, and that’s the perspective I try to bring to the table.

My passion for the Rangers has only grown following this season, and I like to think it’s shown in my writing and reporting. Unfortunately the Stanley Cup will not return to Manhattan for another year, but it’s certainly not over. This team will come back strong, and I couldn’t be more excited to follow and cover everything about the Rangers.

I hope the site and support continues to grow, and you have all been fantastic throughout the season. So once again, thank you so much. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Rangers fan, and be a part of this wonderful community of the Blueshirt Faithful.

Posted on May 31, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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