An E-mail Interview with Barstool Heartland's Nick Maraldo
By Patrick Hoffman
I am proud to present you folks with yet another e-mail interview with someone from the great Barstool Sports.
Nick Maraldo of Barstool Heartland, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he got a sweet gig with Barstool Heartland, the hockey podcast he is involved with, and much, much more.
Here it is:
PH: Growing up, how did you get into hockey?
NM: Basically how any kid growing up in Pittsburgh in the 80's and early 90's did... All thanks to Mario Lemieux.
One day back in the early 90's I was around 6 years old and my neighborhood friends just started playing street hockey and it sucked me right in. I used to watch football with my dad all the time, but he didn't really get into hockey yet, so I would tell him all these cool things I heard from my friends about this number 66 guy and we had to check it out and from there on out we were watching Pens games every night.
PH: Who is your favorite team/player?
NM: The back-to-back defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. I followed the Penguins all through the 90's and 2000's in the good times and bad, from Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Kovalev, Straka, to the years of Ryan Malone, Janne Laukkenan, Rico Fata, and then thankfully the Crosby/Malkin era we're currently enjoying
Geno Malkin is the guy I enjoy the most on the current roster, but my loyalty lies with the logo more so than any individual player. Across the league, my favorite player going currently is Patrick Laine in Winnipeg. Love his swagger and confidence on the ice and his wrister reminds me of my childhood favorite Joe Sakic. Sakic was just the quiet, consummate captain with all the skill in the world and for some reason it really resonated with me.
PH: Considering The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave is filled with tons and tons of hockey memorabilia, what is your favorite piece of hockey memorabilia that you own?
NM: I have a few autographed Joe Sakic jersey cards from when I was a kid stashed away in a big hockey card collection. A lot of my friends were bigger into the memorabilia scene and have some really cool autographed game used Lemieux sticks.
PH: How did you get a gig with the great Barstool Heartland?
NM: It's all about who you know right? I grew up and went to school with Pat McAfee, who retired from the NFL to start the company and I am forever grateful for his decision to include me and allow me to work in such an awesome environment.
I had just finished grad school and had been working in the IT world for almost 10 years when he called me and said "Hey I'm going to retire and start this company... Think you should think about coming out to Indiana".
PH: How did you guys come up with the SnipeCelly show?
NM: Credit to my co-host Ryan Boornazian, affectionately known as "Booze". He's a big hockey guy from Philly that came to Heartland as a video editor and we got to talking around the start of the season about putting together a hockey show.
It was just a natural fit for us since we loved talking hockey and felt the league really struggles with mainstream exposure. We thought we could help spread the word and try to expose some of our midwest audience in more of a relatable, casual way.
PH: What are you trying to provide viewers when it comes to your hockey show?
NM: Barstool as a whole does a great job with hockey coverage and Spittin' Chiclets is easily the most insightful and hilarious hockey podcast out, so we tried to come up with a way to expand upon that, but bring something slightly different.
We thought a quick web show was the best way to go and credit to Booze as he edits the show and crushes it every week. Really we're just trying to highlight the most interesting things happening throughout the NHL and the sport itself.
We try and add some humor, but it's all about getting eyes on the best things about the game.
PH: What are your thoughts on this year's NHL season so far?
NM: It's been a tougher year than expected for my Penguins... They're a little bit older now and they've played a LOT of hockey recently. I think it's just finally catching up with them.
I find it very relatable though. It's like when I used to go out and throw em back with the boys 2-3 nights every week and bounce back like a champ. Now if I go back to back drinking on a Friday and Saturday night, I'm not going to fully recover until like Wednesday.
Other than that, I have been impressed by Tampa and St. Louis so far and I think Nashville did an incredible job re-tooling and fully expect them to make another run. I am shocked at the start Vegas has had and their ability to sustain it. I've been there a few times and the fact that anyone making the amount of money those guys make can keep focused and not get sucked into that place is astounding.
PH: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us puckheads?
NM: #SnipeCelly every Thursday night 7:30pm on Barstool Heartland twitter and Facebook! Check it out and follow along!
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.