Guerilla Journalism

Courtesy of some excellent newspaper hunting by Chris Stevenson in a recent Off The Posts blog we have the story of a brave reporter from the Kelowna Daily Courier. A man who ventures deep into a million dollar compound and comes face to face with the most wanted man in Ottawa. This is his story. My comments in bold.

A definite maybe. That‘s been Dany Heatley’s response to a few questions as of late.
Well, not like the public has been fortunate enough to hear these “maybe’s” for themselves. No one can even get the guy on the record in print so they can run a ‘Maybe’ quote in the paper. We can only dream.

The obvious being Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray asking him to waive his no-trade clause to join the Edmonton Oilers in late June, a deal that would have landed the Senators a package of forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano as well as defenceman Ladislav Smid in return.
A package which I was fond of at the time which continues to look better and better with each passing day.

Heatley, who requested a trade out of the nation‘s capital the previous week, had until midnight on July 1 to accept or refuse the trade, but instead let the deadline pass without comment.
Now is that midnight on June 30th or July 1st? Someone get McAlpine and Barry on the phone. They’ll talk. They’ll know when the deadline is, its their jobs after all. Oh wait..

Fast forward a few weeks, and Heatley still isn‘t talking.
I’d be more surprised at this point if Dany did talk. Dany has heard the chants of “SPEECH! SPEECH! SPEECH!” and refused us the pleasure of hearing an overly polished ultra fence-sitting load of PR hoo-haw. Is there anything he can say? Now can you please hit the fast forward button to training camp please?

Not to teammates, at least not captain Daniel Alfredsson, and not to the media. Not by phone and not in person.
No sir I do not eat green eggs and ham! Thanks. Nothing like a merger of Seuss and hockey. Aside from this children’s book refusal, I do enjoy where this reporter is taking us. It’s like in an awesome action movie where the prologue to the story involves a situation so severe only one man can make things right. This is a wonderful mantra and this is when I start to fall in love with our literary hero.

Several calls from media to the Senators sniper have gone unanswered, with messages not returned. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and, in this case, a Tuesday afternoon visit to Heatley‘s off-season home on Okanagan Lake in West Kelowna.
Totally did not see this coming. Are you serious? You’re going to his house? The devil’s lair? Armed with presumably only a notebook full of questions and a death wish? Man you area brave soul, although not brave enough to give out his full address however.

A long and winding road to get there – not knowing whether he‘d be home or whether he‘d agree to an interview – it was certainly worth a shot.
The risks one takes in order to get the story. Will he be home or won’t he? Will he have picked up the mail that day or not? Will the grass be trim or overdue for a cut? The mental anguish must have eaten him alive the night before. Oh the horror.

Upon arriving, the back gate was open and seemingly welcoming. A portable basketball net was visible from the top of a downhill driveway, and a nice ski boat was docked just feet from the front yard.
Well it’s hardly the barb wire, 2 story high cast iron gate and rabid German Shepard protected dungeon I had presumed. I still have a lot of questions about the place. Was the landscaping respectable? Does he do it himself or is it hired out? What type of stain did he use on the deck? Did the driveway need to be resealed? I guess when all you get for your story is “Not right now” you have to fill that word count with something.

Fittingly, the 28-year-old former 50-goal scorer answered the door of his multi-million-dollar pad adorned in board shorts, a golf shirt and sunglasses.
Now if I’ve learned anything in my time, its that one should never wear a collar with swim trunks. Sounds like he was getting dressed for a Bud Camp photo shoot.

Then came the questions: Dany, I‘m so and so from The Daily Courier, was hoping I could shoot the breeze on some hockey stuff with you?
How candid and coy. Just shoot the breeze, nothing too serious. Just light hearted hockey talk. Trade request? What trade request? Who wants to know about that anyways. I’m just here as a regular Joe reporter to talk about expectations for the team this year. Just a regular ol’ interview. Our hero has underestimated the beasts intelligence. Dany knows reporters.

“Not right now, man. Sorry, I‘m just about to take off, actually,” said Heatley, pleasant but clearly surprised to see a reporter standing there.
Well kudos to Heatley for handling this well and not pulling a Maradona. Definitely a good out to use. I know Dany, you’d love to talk but you just don’t have the time. Those busy summer months screening phone calls and shooting hoops.

OK, fair enough, could we set something up for later on, maybe later in the week or next week? “You know what, I‘ll take your card and I‘ll give you a call or have someone give you a call. We‘ll be in touch.”
Dude got blown off! Now, I don’t think the reporter wanted to have someone else call him. He would have shown up at his agents office if he wanted to hear from them. He came to see you Dany. You think this reporter believes for one second you, personally will be in touch? Laughable.

And so ended a rather anticlimactic encounter. It didn‘t end with a flat out no, but by no means was it a guaranteed yes.
Anticlimactic for sure. No gunshots. No swearing. No tell all confession. Well reporter man I got news for ya – abandon all hope. He’s not gonna call you. He’s not interested. It was a no. Not now. Not ever.

More like a definite maybe, a response Steve Tambellini and the Oilers can relate to.
That proposed deal isn‘t dead, according to various reports, nor is this interview.
Or is it? Stay tuned.
Whatever helps you sleep at night dude. But seriously, it’s over. Give up the ghost like the rest of us already have.

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