Washington Capitals Nation: how we feelin’? Well, okay, I think I know how. Once again, the team couldn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs. BUT, as the saying goes, there’s always next year.
I wanted to take this time to formally introduce myself. My name is Mackane Vogel, I am Washington Hockey Now’s newest writer. I’ve been a Washington fan for almost as long as I’ve been alive (24 years). I went to my first Capitals game when I was nine months old. They were hosting the Calgary Flames at MCI Center.
I am one of those kids who probably came out of the womb holding a hockey stick. At age three I learned to skate and started playing hockey for Baltimore Youth Hockey Club (BYHC). And at age four, I started playing for the Baltimore Stars. My dad, Mike Vogel, has been working for the Capitals for roughly the same amount of time I have been alive. I’m extremely fortunate. Not only to have been able to go to so many games and be so close to this team for the past two decades, but especially because I got to grow up watching this specific era of Capitals Hockey.
Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Olie Kolzig. Those are just a few of the legendary players that solidified my obsession with this sport and this hockey team. Then later came Evgeny Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby, T.J. Oshie and many others.
Hockey has always been my greatest passion, but writing did not become a big part of my life until I was a bit older.
Sure, I used to write songs and stories as a little kid, but it wasn’t until high school that I really identified my love for writing and decided I wanted to pursue it as a career. And it wasn’t until just a couple years ago that I realized that hockey and writing could both be part of my career.
I went to High School at Calvert Hall in Towson, Maryland. I played hockey there, won a varsity MIAA championship, lost a couple of state championships to those D.C. schools that always seemed to be just a smidge better than us (Gonzaga, DeMatha).
After that, I went to study journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I continued to play hockey through college, but a freshman year knee injury ended my chances of playing for Marquette’s D2 club team. I remember being faced with this haunting decision of, “if playing hockey isn’t going to take up most of my free time, then what is?” And of course, being in college, there were immediately lots of things that kept me busy and interested. But writing was the main thing that kept me going.
I initially got involved with my college’s student media program, the Marquette Wire, and the college newspaper, the Marquette Tribune. I ended up sticking with that for all four years. And by the start of my senior year, I was the general manager of Marquette Radio, our school’s college radio station.
All the while, I continued to watch the Capitals play on TV any chance I got. I even made sure I made the 90-minute drive down to Chicago once a year to see Washington play against the Blackhawks. Still, despite my strong passion for both hockey and writing, the two had not intersected for me just yet.
Fast forward to May 2020. It’s the middle of a pandemic and I found myself with a journalism degree, no job and no idea what I want to do with that degree. That is until I decided on a whim to send a direct message to a podcast called Empty Betters on Instagram. At the time, the podcast was run by two guys, one of whom I played Calvert Hall hockey with several years before.
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I told them that I had multimedia journalism skills and a ton of free time on my hands. A few weeks later, I was part of the team. Immediately I found great joy in writing about the Capitals and typing up league notes to prepare for podcast episodes. Finally, two of my greatest passions were finding a way to intersect with each other. It felt so effortless and natural to me, writing about hockey and talking about the sport that I love most.
I’ve been with the Empty Betters team ever since. It’s been such a fun part of my life for the last two years. And so here I am, trying to further my reach and continue blending my two greatest passions: hockey and writing.
So, I’m so excited to write for Washington Hockey Now, and I can’t wait to give this my best effort. I can’t wait to tell stories and to cover the team that introduced me to the greatest game on Earth. I hope all you Caps fans out there are ready for a fun NHL free agency (hopefully) and an even better season in 2022-23 (please God).
Thank you in advance for welcoming me to this new platform. I promise to bring you the best coverage I can every time I put my fingers on the keyboard as long as you all promise to keep being the best fans in the NHL. So, finally: Go Capitals, Unleash the Fury and last — but certainly not least — we’re not going to be suck this year.