Newark, NJ – Welcome to New Jersey Hockey Now, your new home for all things New Jersey Devils with beat reporter James Nichols!
If you already know who I am, welcome back, and thank you for being here. If you’re just meeting me, welcome, I hope you stay a while.
For those who don’t know me, I started on the Devils beat in the 2022-23 season. What a ride it’s been so far.
Previously, I was reporting on the New York Islanders for several publications before finding my way to New Jersey. When the opportunity presented itself to cover a young, up-and-coming team that featured a superstar such as Jack Hughes with an influx of playoff experience from players like Ondrej Palat and Erik Haula, it was hard to turn down the opportunity to start covering a team that you could see was beginning to build something special.
Fast forward to today, those beliefs became a reality. The Devils took a massive step forward last season and I couldn’t have been luckier to walk onto the beat at the right time. The win streaks, the franchise records, the playoffs, all of it was something to marvel at from the press box and in the locker room. Beginning as soon as right now, I’m stoked at the opportunity to kick the coverage up a notch.
As for my personal hockey background, it’s your prototypical player-to-hockey media member story. My father had me on skates when I was just three years old. I played hockey through high school and college, and when I realized playing in the NHL wasn’t realistic, I explored opportunities in the industry off the ice. I landed on journalism, a highly competitive and unforgiving field, but chasing stories gave me a similar rush I felt when I was on the ice.
As mentioned earlier, I covered the Islanders at the beginning of my writing career. Growing up, my father always rooted for the Isles, and as an extension, so did I. Don’t ask me how my brother became a fan of the New York Rangers, I have no idea. Yet, living on Staten Island for the majority of my life, driving to the Meadowlands, and eventually Newark was a lot closer than driving to Long Island. So, my parents brought me to watch live hockey in New Jersey far more often than they did in Nassau County. That’s probably how I wound up in a Devils jersey at some point.
I got my career off and running covering the team I rooted for for so long. Yet, when you break into this business, you learn rather quickly to abandon that fandom. Instead, you root for players you meet, interesting stories, and my personal favorite, chaos.
Hockey was my first love. Now, I’m a father and a husband first, but hockey is still a very close second. I can’t wait to hit the ground running doing what I love for a living.
What will I bring to the New Jersey Devils beat?
If you’ve followed me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me tweet out MoneyPuck’s Deserve to Win-O-Meters a bunch. I won’t pretend to be an advanced analytics guru, but I know enough about them that I do think there is a place in the game for them. However, the eye test serves its purpose as well and I believe neither strategy tells the full story, but maybe they could together. The numbers fascinate me just as much as what I see on the ice and there’s a way to find a happy medium.
New Jersey Hockey Now will be here for quality, objective, daily coverage ranging from pre and post-game stories to analysis pieces, breaking news stories, inside exclusives, and more! As the man on-site for New Jersey, I’m elated to join a team of great writers at National Hockey Now that provide outstanding content for their respective cities such as George Richards, Sheng Peng, Kevin Allen, and many more. For those of you who have already followed my coverage, I hope you follow me on this new journey. For those who haven’t before, I hope New Jersey Hockey Now is your new home for all your Devils needs. See y’all at The Rock!
P.S. Nathan Bastian is elite.
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