I want to do something a little different today by paying tribute to Rick Gosselin who closed out a 27 year career at the Dallas Morning News with his final column yesterday. Here is that final column which is a must read: https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/other-sports/moresports/2019/02/08/goose-rick-gosselin-covered-everything-news-swan-song
– When you read about Rick’s 46 year career in sports journalism it is clear he covered everything along the way but he made his mark in his coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL. After all, he was selected into the writers wing of the NFL Hall of Fame way back in 2004. His final column talks about how he went about putting together mock drafts for over 20 years and the respect he earned from coaches and general managers around the NFL because of the credibility of his draft board. What Gosselin doesn’t mention is after the recent super bowl, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked how he found Super Bowl LIII most valuable player Julian Edelman, who was a little known quarterback in college. “It’s kind of interesting,” Belichick said. “I have to give Rick Gosselin credit on that one for getting us started. I talked to Rick, as you know, he followed the draft very closely and at one point he said to me, ‘A kid you might want to take a look at is this quarterback (Edelman) out of Kent State. I don’t think he can play quarterback (in the NFL), but I have heard he is a pretty good player.”
– I can say without exaggeration that Rick Gosselin is by far the most important/impactful member of the DFW media as it relates to this blog and the Allen Americans. I first met Rick back in 2012 at an Allen practice early in the season. I was struggling as a 65 year old retiree trying to write about Allen Americans hockey having never done anything close to sports writing in the past. After just a few months of writing the blog I had a lot of questions about what to write, when to write, building trust, being honest with readers, relationships with the front office and myriad of other items. I bravely walked up Rick after practice, introduced myself, and asked this nationally known sports writer if I could ask him a few questions. He graciously sat with me for over 30 minutes and answered every question I had and more importantly shared his experiences to reinforce what he was telling me.
– Rick and I covered a lot of ground the first time we met back in 2012 but three things he told me that I remember to this day were the importance of stats when you are a daily beat writer (blogger), always give your readers something they can’t find anywhere else and your job isn’t to keep the front office happy, if you are doing your job that will be impossible. For the last seven years Rick has been a mentor and a friend who has gone out of his way to help when I have a question and more importantly encourages me and pump my tires when I am feeling unappreciated. When Rick tells me what a good job I am doing and the Americans are lucky to have someone like me writing about the team that is high praise from someone who knows the business after close to 50 years covering sports.
– More important than what Rick has done for me personally is what he has done for the Allen Americans. Anyone that has been around the team for the past 10 years knows the Americans get very little coverage from the major media in the DFW metroplex. Rick Gosselin took an interest in the Allen Americans from the very early years. If truth be known hockey is his favorite sport and it has been since he grew up playing hockey in the Detroit area. He was an All-City right wing at St. Ambrose High School and played senior hockey for almost 20 years until he moved to Dallas in 1990. Rick’s brother was also a hockey player who played one year of college hockey at Michigan State, where Rick earned his degree. I recently asked Rick when he decided he wanted to write about sports for a living and he told me when he was five, it is literally the only thing he has ever wanted to do.
– Once Rick found out about the Americans, which wasn’t right away, he became a big supporter of the team. He loved the team and loved the facility. You can only imagine how hard it is to get stories written about the Allen Americans in a newspaper the covers the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. Rick was contracted for a certain number of columns per year and he would fight to get one or two per season about the Americans. He would use this technique of tying an Allen story to the major sports in town or the NHL just to get a column about Allen published.
– Whenever Rick attends an Allen game he is always a between periods guest on Tommy Daniel’s broadcast where they talk hockey and football but Rick’s presence is always a help in marketing the team. Everyday, Rick is kind enough to retweet my blog to his over 25,000 followers. He is the single biggest marketing tool the Americans have on a daily basis.
– It is always a treat for me when Rick attends a game as we get to catch up on comparing notes in the press box before the game. You would be surprised that Rick keeps his own spreadsheet on Allen stats and is a great source of information even for me who spends all day every day on the Allen Americans. The best part of the Allen games when Rick attends is a habit we started several years ago. We meet up right after the game and attend the post game talk coach Martinson has with the season ticket holders and then we accompany Martinson to his office to chat in more detail about the game. I become a fly on the wall listening to these two legends talk about the game, what went wrong or right, roster updates, changes that are needed and many times the conversation drifts to the “old days” of hockey. It is both entertaining and educational.
– The silver lining for myself and the Allen Americans with Rick no longer writing for the Dallas Morning News is he will be able to make it to more hockey games. Don’t get me wrong he is not retiring and will be kept plenty busy. He will still have his national Hall of Fame-themed Talk of Fame Network radio show plus the partner website on the same topic (talkoffamenetwork.com). He will also remain on local radio each week with Norm Hitzges and Donovan Lewis, on the Ticket at 10:50 am on Tuesdays.
– Rick is very active with Pro Football Hall of Fame serving on the overall selection committee (23 years) as well as the seniors selection committee and the contributors selection committee. He has made the presentation on behave of many players now in the HOF including Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Micheal Irvin, Jerry Jones and in 2018 for Green Packer great Jerry Kramer who waited 50 years to be selected.
– Here are a few of my favorite Rick Gosselin stories about the Allen Americans. Notice how many of them have a connection to a professional player or team which helped get the story published:
– This is a story from 2014 and helped put Steve Martinson on the map in DFW. Rick talks about the best coach in the Dallas area is someone you have never heard of… https://www.dallasnews.com/news/allen/2014/10/14/gosselin-the-best-coach-in-the-dallas-area-is-someone-you-ve-never-heard-of
– This one is from 2015 after Allen won their third straight championship and first Kelly Cup. Rick start this one with, “So much for being humbled,” https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/rickgosselin/2015/06/14/gosselin-so-much-for-being-humbled-allen-americans-win-third-straight-championship-first-echl-kelly-cup
– Here is a story about Chad Costello and his passing skills from 2016. The title (notice the NHL reference) is, “Chad Costello’s elite passing skills has Americans coach saying he shares qualities of Hall of Famer Adam Oates.” https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/other-sports/moresports/2016/03/14/gosselin-chad-costellos-elite-passing-skills-americans-coach-saying-shares-quality-hall-famer-adam-oates
– Here is another story about Steve Martinson with the title, “Allen Americans have best GM in town– and he’s everything Jerry Jones has aspired to be.” https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2016/06/10/gosselin-best-gm-town-stars-jim-nill-rangers-jon-daniels-itsnbspsteve-martinson-allen-americans
– This story from 2017 talks about Allen’s quest for a fifth straight championship. The title is, “Allen Americans aim to do something professional hockey hasn’t seen since the Montreal Canadiens of the 1950’s”… https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2017/04/10/allen-americans-aim-something-professional-hockey-seen-since-montreal-candiens-1950s
– This one is about Riley Gill, “Allen Americans goalie Riley Gill has a problem; he needs a ticket to the Cotton Bowl”… https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2016/12/19/allen-americans-goalie-riley-gill-problem-ticket-cotton-bowl-see-western-michigan-can-fix
– In closing I want to add my congratulations to Rick Gosselin for a great career with the Dallas Morning News and also thank him for all he has done for me and the Allen Americans. I took the opportunity to read all 227 comments on his Twitter feed after he posted his farewell column. The comments ranged from a reader who started following Rick with her grandfather many years ago, to a journalism student who thanked Rick for talking to her college class, to a guy that approached Rick at a restaurant and was impressed with Rick’s willingness to talk to him. The funniest was from a guy who said, “Rick, you have pleasured me more in the past 29 year than my wife ever could. Thank You!
– What is clear after reading all of the comments about Rick is his unique combination of award winning writing while being a very humble guy that has helped so many over the years. Ever so humble, this is what Gosselin posted last night after all of the response he received on his last column, “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support and appreciation I have received today on my final day in newspapers from readers, writers, coaches, players and friends. I have always cared about those reading what I wrote. It is gratifying to discover they also cared about me.”
– Rick still has a lot to contribute and we will see and hear from him a lot in the future, even though it won’t be in the newspaper. Better yet, he should be at the Allen Event Center more often.
DID YOU KNOW: A few of Rick Gosselin’s many awards include the Dick McCann Memorial Award, given by the Professional Football Writers of America for long and distinguished reporting on professional football, the distinguished alumni award from Michigan State University and the Missouri Sports Writer of the Year Award.