An era ended at Yahoo Sports on Friday with Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski announcing that he was leaving the company for another as-yet-unannounced opportunity.
To call Wyshynski’s stint at Yahoo Sports “an era” isn’t overstating the case. He edited Puck Daddy for nine years, making it one of the most popular Yahoo Sports blogs and emerging as one of their most distinct personalities. During that time, he also established himself as a prominent voice in hockey media, which emerged beyond Puck Daddy into podcasts, books and television.
The timing of the announcement is a surprise, as Wyshynski himself acknowledged, with the 2017-18 NHL season set to begin next week (Oct. 4, to be exact). But as he wrote in a post on his personal site, this is a move Wyshynski had been contemplating since the summer, especially after Puck Daddy writers Sean Leahy, Josh Cooper and Jen Neale were let go in the wave of layoffs at Yahoo Sports in May.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 29, 2017
Wyshynski went on to admit some feelings many writers experience, sentiments that might be especially true for bloggers who often burn bright, but eventually fizzle out. Even those fortunate enough to become popular and develop a loyal readership still produce a daily output that many other writers simply don’t deal with. (That can often lead to hiring other writers to maintain output.
But a moment passes. The circumstances that led to popularity change. Burnout is common. Writers may wonder if they’ve already done their best work, and the attempt to try and continually repeat success can be daunting. Leading a staff of writers also creates a different set of concerns.
“Simply put: I didn’t want to spend the next three years trying to recreate something that couldn’t be recreated. To try and maintain standards I set for myself, and for you, that couldn’t be maintained, given the changes in staff, resources and objectives after the sale to Verizon. This is very much my own hang-up, as I anticipate NHL coverage will continue to thrive on Yahoo. But it was an insurmountable one.
“I know myself and how I work, and I’ve already seen how I reacted to the losses of Leahy and Cooper and Neale this year. It wasn’t healthy, and ultimately it was going to lead me in one of two directions: Overworking to overcompensate, which is my default setting, or into a cycle of complacency because we had built a machine that saw record traffic in 2017.”
All of this makes Wyshynski’s nine-year run at Puck Daddy that much more impressive. Look at the other Yahoo Sports blogs. Many of them have changed editors over the years or seen their original writers move to different roles. [In the interests of full disclosure, I contributed to Yahoo’s Big League Stew from 2010 to 2012.] Changes at Yahoo as a company surely made the ambition to maintain a level of output and quality increasingly difficult.
The natural question is where Wyshynski will go next. As he mentioned, he already has his next job lined up. The Athletic seems like a good fit with the resources that site has devoted to hockey coverage, and Wyshynski could be the sort of national voice that the company is increasingly adding to its roster. (For example, Peter Gammons is joining The Athletic.) Writing column-type articles would also be a change of pace from the daily grind of producing multiple posts for a blog.