Posted by: Ethan Johnson | April 29, 2010

Unsolicited Praise for Ice Magazine

Hooray! I opened my mailbox tonight and found my first issue of Ice Magazine. The Olympics pushed the production schedule back a bit but I am here to assert and affirm that the wait was oh, so worth it.

Ice Magazine

Yep, right there on my coffee table.

I’m not going to give a page by page breakdown of the magazine, instead, I will torment all of you non-subscribers out there with what you missed in the latest issue:

  • A hockey wedding featuring a Stanley Cup cake. You have to see this thing. Very, very clever idea and execution.
  • Important information about concussions and making sure you don’t rush your recovery.
  • An inspiring and motivating story about efforts to bring varsity girls’ hockey to western New York.
  • An introduction to the Minnesota Novas inner-city hockey team.

And much, much more!

And now, my personal testimonial, which was in no way solicited by Ice Magazine.

Back in 2006, I tried my hand at independent publishing. I made a PDF-based “e-zine” called Vision Monthly. It looked like this:

Vision Monthly sample cover

That was the zine that was.

The idea was to round up informative, inspiring, instructive and provocative articles and present it in a laptop friendly format so that, for example, people could read the ‘zine on business trips without requiring an internet connection. I could not afford to pay anyone for their involvement, so I essentially acted as a 21st century Reader’s Digest, using existing material found online and reprinted with author approval and attribution.

The problem was twofold: One, I found out very quickly that even with fancy (albeit open source) computer-aided publishing tools, tossing together a monthly ‘zine and doing advance work on the next issue was, well, a beating. Two, I opted to try a National Public Radio funding model where the ‘zine is free, but donation-powered. I set a low funding bar to gauge interest and commitment to the idea, and I never got even close to meeting the lowball figure. Fast-acting burnout and a sense that it was probably best to stop pushing ultimately compelled me to spike the project. I did gain an enormous appreciation for the publishing industry during my brief stint hacking together Vision Monthly.

So it is with these memories at the front of my mind that I eagerly devoured every page of Ice Magazine.

And when I did, I had to keep taking breaks while my head exploded with inspiration and motivation. Yes, Ice Magazine is intended for a female audience. But as the NHL says, hockey is for everyone. And so is inspiration.

I think there is a wealth of untapped opportunities out there for women’s athletics and resources like Ice Magazine help connect female athletes and the people who love and support them.

I spoke with the Executive Editor, Yvonne Solis recently about the magazine and she told me about how the scope of the magazine was originally Michigan and Florida and then “the whole thing went viral.” Canadian readers asked for Canada-centric content. Australian readers expressed interest in the magazine. I told Ms. Solis that I had seen Ice Magazine in the audience (on national television!) during a pre-Olympics tune-up women’s hockey game. Ice Magazine is on the move, and their success is certainly deserved.

But that success didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Please consider a subscription for yourself or a gift subscription for friends and family.

As an extra incentive, and again, I have no skin in the game except as a paying subscriber that wants to see this magazine continue to grow, if you go to their official site and use code “ICE10” (without the quotes) you can get 10% off your subscription and merchandise order. I assume the code will expire at some point so why wait? Do you like hockey? Do you want to be inspired? Do you want to know what’s going on around the USA and the world with women’s hockey? Subscribe!

Seriously, I can’t stop gushing.

I wonder if the RWHL knows about Ice Magazine.

Soon, I suspect, they shall.

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