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Vincent Massey Secondary School
High School Journalist Day at The Joe

Vincent Massey student, Jared Cummings, was the only Canadian among 60 high school reporters invited to attend the Detroit Red Wings’ annual High School Journalist Day on March 13, 2014. 

An editor for Massey’s school newspaper, The Stang, Jared travelled to Joe Louis Arena  to participate in mock press conferences, a press box tour and a viewing of practice from the stands to get a better understanding of what it takes to be a part of the sports journalism profession.

The event kicked off with a mock press conference of four media panel members made up of USA Today hockey reporter Kevin Allen, Michael Caples of Michigan Hockey, sports columnist Bob Duff of the Windsor Star as well as radio play-by-play broadcaster and the voice of the Red Wings Ken Kal. Each member touched on their own personal journey to get to their current job along with the sacrifices and long hours needed to land those competitive positions.

“I had an opportunity to speak with Bob Duff after the press conference and asked him about the number of hours that goes into becoming an expert on such a wide variety of sports and teams,” Jared said. “His eyes lit up as he talked about all the different leagues he covers and the research he does and I could tell that he’s someone who truly loves what he does. You’d be hard pressed to find someone whose passion for athletics is as fiery as Bob’s.”

Following the media panel Q&A, students were given a tour of the Joe Louis Arena press box and the opportunity to view practice from the stands while taking action photos and jotting down observations.

“Watching the Red Wings practice was fascinating. The way Mike Babcock directed practice was surprisingly similar to how my minor hockey coaches run theirs. He chased his team around the rink, banging his stick and barking orders, demanding a great level of intensity from his players. I guess some things about hockey never change, no matter what level you play,” Jared observed.

Then students had the chance to put head coach Mike Babcock on the spot by asking questions about his experience in the sports industry, his coaching tactics and even his recent Olympic gold medal.

Jared commented on the advice Mike Babcock gave to the students: “Coach Babcock was very inspirational. He talked about the importance of hard work and pursuing a future that we thoroughly enjoy, but said that as young people entering the world, the best thing to do is to go out and ‘get some life experience’ by ‘doing as many things as you can.’”

Former Red Wings forward and Special Assistant to the General Manager Kris Draper then took the stage to field students’ questions about his career, the current Red Wings team and media. Three Red Wings players – forwards Luke Glendening and Tomas Tatar along with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson – followed him with a 45-minute mock press conference.

All students were invited to write an article about High School Journalist Day, which will be judged by the team’s PR department. Three winners will be selected with the top article winning the opportunity to shadow USA Today’s Kevin Allen at a morning skate, lunch and Red Wings home game in 2014-15.