Meet Matt Wellens, hockey reporter for The Rink Live
Read about the experience and expertise sports reporter Matt Wellens brings to The Rink Live team. Matt has always raised his hand to cover the sport of hockey, and his experience combined with a
I was a freshman at Northern Michigan University covering women’s soccer and basketball for the student newspaper — The North Wind — when during a staff meeting our editor threw out a question just before the end of the fall semester.
“Anyone want to take over the men’s hockey beat?”
I was the only one who raised his hand that day, and 18 years later, I still find myself covering college hockey because of the people I’ve met in this sport and the places it has taken me. I’ve dabbled in high school sports coverage in Michigan, North Dakota and Wisconsin. I’ve had the chance to report on the NFL and NHL here in Minnesota as well.
But college hockey is my home, my family. The 2021-22 season marks my eighth on the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men’s and women’s hockey beat, tying the number of seasons I spent covering the Wildcats for student, local and national publications.
Covering the Bulldogs for the Duluth News Tribune allowed me to fulfill a childhood dream of being a newspaper sports reporter who travels the country reporting on championships. Meanwhile, Forum Communications’ introduction of The Rink Live has breathed new life into my career, allowing me to tell stories in a different way and work hand-in-hand with some of the tremendous college hockey reporters I’ve met over the last year.
Covering my first NCAA Frozen Four in 2017 in Chicago after all my years covering college hockey was an experience I’ll never forget, as will going back to the Frozen Four again in 2018, and 2019 and 2021.
College hockey is supposed to be fun — for the players, coaches, fans, everyone — so I try to incorporate that into my coverage. We write, report and broadcast for the fans, which is why I think it’s just as important to break down the food and beverage situation inside an arena as it is to break down the Bulldogs’ power play and penalty kills.
Hockey is fun, and the day covering hockey isn’t fun anymore, I guess I’ll have to go find a real job. Until then, send me your story ideas and craft beer recommendations.