Travis Hair talks about the Coyotes, the fans, and snakes
Travis Hair, the managing editor of Five For Howling, has lived through the frustration of being a Phoenix Coyotes fan. He’s been a devout fan through it all, and I know just how much he suffered through all the troubles last summer. He seemingly took it personally, as his team was fought over in court and nearly every pundit wrote how the team should ultimately be moved.
Amid all this uncertainty was a team that was in desperate need of guidance, and a fan base that felt abandoned. The team had been mediocre for too long in an environment where hockey can certainly struggle, and when the issues surrounding the ownership of the franchise erupted the fans were left out in the cold.
Now, after the first playoff hockey game in Arizona since 2002, everything has turned completely around. The Coyotes are the feel good story of the season, the fans are back in rabid fashion and the Throw The Snake campaign has put Travis and Five For Howling on the map. As the Coyotes get more and more attention, so has Travis and his great blog.
Pro Hockey Talk was able to chat with Travis about this past season, the great hockey game in Glendale last night, and his experiences since become famous in the hockey world.
As the hockey world embraces the Coyotes, Travis says he’s not that surprised.
“Who doesn’t root for the CInderella or the underdog?” Those are the best of sports stories,” Travis tells Pro Hockey Talk. “Who doesn’t hate the Wings that isn’t a WIngs fan?”
“The bigger surprise is the support from teams in the playoffs. Hawks fans, Sharks fans, Preds too. They’re cheering for us too.”
The Coyotes won a big game against the Red Wings last night, as raucous fans turned a hockey arena in Arizona into one of the most electrifying atmospheres in all of hockey. Travis says that atmosphere was building outside the arena before the game ever started.
“There were wranglers with white coyotes on harnesses walking around out front. Just cool. There were tons of painted up fans, fans wearing capes, fans cheering outside before they ever got in. People were mostly in their seats early because they didn’t want to miss a moment.”
It was certainly a bit unexpected, even with the hype the team had started to get leading into the playoffs. Travis, however, says that this has been building for most of the season. As far as the team goes, he says he knew they might be onto something special well before then.
“I’d be lying if I said I knew it was going to be this special,” he says. “But the first clue I had was early in the year when we went to Pittsburgh and shutout the Penguins. It’s just one game, but anytime you can do something like that to the defending champs it gives you confidence in your team.”
What’s been truly special to witness is how a simple joke on Twitter turned into an all-out campaign for solidarity among Coyotes fans. The Throw The Snake movement has been embraced all around hockey, and has put Travis and his blog on the map.
Travis says that while there were “10 to 12" snakes that ended up on the ice, the arena officials didn’t seem all that concerned with stopping it.
“One of my friends was wearing a “Throw the snake” shirt [availiable on Five for howling] and the security people were like ‘What’s that mean?’ He had to explain it.
“Heck, some people got some octopi into the arena.”
As the Throw The Snake movement gained traction, Travis has been sought out by the media to provide his thoughts on the Coyotes, the fans and hockey. He’s talked to Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog, appeared on local radio, and had his blog mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada as well as on iDesk on the CBC.
It’s some surprising instant fame for Travis, who considers himself just a simple blogger. It’s all been a bit unexpected.
“Though I run a blog on one of the biggest and well run networks around, I’m just a blogger.”
“I don’t even know where to go from here. I’m just a hockey fan and had this random Throw The Snake and the team take off. I’m excicited about where this goes and also just stunned by the sudden attention.”
If there’s one blogger and one website that deserve the attention, it’s Travis and Five For Howling. He’s toiled through some tough times and now it’s paying off as his site sky rockets.
The team has been pushing their “Whiteout 2010" campaign, and Five For Howling has followed suit. It’s something that has certainly worked for this team and these fans.
“Everyone was cheering, booing, oohing, Everyone was high-fiving everyone. It was just amazing.”
“Talk about how we shouldn’t do the whiteout if you want, but it was electric.”
You can follow Travis on Twitter at twitter.com/TravisHair.