Ballou Enjoys Covering New Hockey Team

By Jeremy Lemoine
Worcester, Mass. - When it comes to AHL hockey, newspaper coverage is of the essence.  The Worcester Sharks enjoy exceptional coverage from one of the league’s best beat writers in Bill Ballou from the Telegram and Gazette.
Each Sharks game, home or away, the hockey enthusiast writes a game recap and notes column.  In addition, Ballou writes an AHL Hockey column each Thursday during the season.  His column frequently features a Sharks player and also covers a wide variety of topics throughout the AHL.  Ballou’s ability to create and find more stories than the gossip columnist for the Enquirer comes directly from his knack to capture every statistic possible during games.
“I have every single stat in the history of Worcester Pro Hockey dating back to the Ice Cats inaugural season in 1994,” confessed Ballou.  “I keep everything from attendance to the goal scorers in each game.  It comes in handy more times than you could imagine too.”
Ballou has been covering Worcester Pro Hockey since its inception 12 years ago.  With the Sharks having played just one season in the heart of the commonwealth, 11 of those years Ballou covered the Ice Cats.  The 12 years of coverage gives the intrepid scribe an array of memories and stories he will never forget.  He also has had the luxury of witnessing differences between both organizations.
“The biggest difference, and it’s a good thing, is easily the curtaining system the DCU Center installed when the Sharks agreed to come to Worcester,” said Ballou in a recent interview while enjoying a chilidog at Coney Island.  “It really makes for a better feeling while at a game because it keeps the crowd closer together.”
A sellout for a Worcester Sharks home game is 6,800 because a black curtain shuts out 5,516 seats. The Sharks have benefited from this innovative curtain because fans are forced closer to the ice which provides a less cavernous feeling throughout the arena.  In their first season in Worcester, the Sharks were able to sell out five games.
In addition to the curtaining system off the ice, the veteran reporter admits that he thoroughly enjoyed this hockey season. 
“It had a little bit of everything,” he said.  “There were very few blowouts becuase the team never quit.  That made for some fun games to watch and when you have that, its fun to write.  I hope next season is just as fun.”
As far as memories on the ice, Ballou did not hesitate to mention something as trivial as a Lukas Kaspar slap shot from five feet in front of Lowell Devils netminder, Frank Doyle.  The game was in Lowell on Monday, January 15th and the Sharks pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory.  Needless to say, Kaspar’s point-blank slapper from five feet in front of Doyle was not one of the three goals scored in that game.
“Over the year’s I have seen a lot, but I have never seen that before,” said Ballou with a chuckle.  “I still laugh every time I think about it.”
The expertise Ballou brings to his writing helps the Sharks build interest exponentially within Worcester and its surrounding communities.  His articles in the T&G create a buzz that make people excited about Sharks hockey. 
For his strong work ethic, the Sharks proudly nominated Ballou for the James H. Ellery award.  The Ellery award goes annually to members of the media (newspaper, radio, tv) for outstanding media coverage of the American Hockey League.  Ballou is no stranger to this award as he won the newspaper category of the Ellery Award during the 1997-98 season. 
For his hard work, dedication to the sport and coverage he gave the Sharks during their first season in a new city, Ballou should win by a landslide.   

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