I got the absolute privilege to have a chat with Nathan Mallet, founder of RunningWithTheHerd.com. The San Antonio Rampage will be the St. Louis Blues top AHL affiliate this year, and Nathan talks about what he is excited about covering, and what he is hopeful of seeing, as the Blues bring all of their AHL prospects to town.
Mallet (@RampageNate) was kind enough to join us on Off-Beat. Nate, can you give the readers a little bio about yourself and explain what RunningWithTheHerd.com is all about? What are the cool things you guys are doing over there?
Growing up in Michigan, I became a Red Wings fan at a young age during Steve Yzerman‘s rookie season. My love of hockey grew through the glory years, and I was completely hooked when I attended my first game in Joe Louis Arena at 14.
In 2006, my career in the US Air Force brought me to San Antonio. I met my (now) wife shortly after moving here, and the 2006 home opener was one of our first dates. After a season of attending about 20 games, we decided it was probably wise to purchase season tickets.
After a few seasons of growing frustration with the total lack of coverage and respect from local media, I decided to start a blog on blogspot, where I hoped to just give fans a place to go to discuss hockey. As my Twitter presence grew, I hooked up with JP Williams, our podcast’s producer and co-host.
JP was a co-host on a Saturday morning ESPN radio show in San Antonio and had a weekly segment during the season dedicated to Rampage hockey. After appearing as a guest a few times, we decided to put (out) a live show on internet radio. Our presence grew, even more, leading to receiving credentials from the team for the last 5 seasons, and a move to a more permanent home at our current website.
The Texas Stars are the Rampage’s public enemy number one. The Rampage went 9-4-1 against them last year. How sweet was that as a diehard Rampage fan?
It’s always great beating the Stars, especially given our two team’s histories. Texas has a Calder Cup, and two more finals appearances in their ten-year history, and has routinely had the Rampage’s number, especially up in Cedar Park. So while last season was difficult, it was pretty great to see the Stars and their fans lose their collective minds when they played the Rampage.
With the Rampage set to be the new top affiliate for the St. Louis Blues this year, what are some of the things you are looking forward to covering?
The number one thing I am looking forward to with this new affiliation is (hopefully) a winning hockey team. Colorado knocked this fanbase down over and over ,and we are all ready to move on and never look back.
With Colorado transferring affiliations to the Colorado Eagles, more spots on the Rampage roster will be open to Blues prospects. Who are a couple of players that you guys over at the Herd are looking forward to seeing play?
If you listen to our last podcast, all three of us are extremely excited to see what Klim Kostin can do with a full complement of Blues teammates.
On a personal note, I’m anxious to see what the goalie tandem of Husso and Binnington can do and, selfishly, I’m really hoping for a full season of Jordan Kyrou in the silver and black. I think he has the potential to be our most exciting player since Mikko Rantanen.
Is it difficult to be so passionate about a club when the personnel changes so often? What challenges does that bring to you guys as a media outlet?
Naturally, I think it’s always difficult being a passionate minor league sports fan. Not only do players get called up or traded routinely, but thanks to our geography within the league, and NHL teams making every effort to get their AHL teams in the backyard, we are going into our 4th affiliate in 9 seasons. The biggest challenge is just, like I said, new players coming in all the time, so it’s a challenge to really develop a professional relationship with the players, which can lead to very programmed conversations.
Our fans love the players and really enjoy the fan events because the players are more relaxed. I’d like to get those moments at practice too, so I can really showcase some of these guys’ awesome personalities.
Best Rampage moment?
Best moment is easy. 2012 playoff series win over Chicago. Game 5 ( first round is best of 5), in Chicago, and a guy [Roman Derlyuk] who scored 2 goals in 69 regular season games scores the winner in double OT, giving the team their first (and still only) playoff series victory.