An Email Interview with a Man Who Loves Hockey Magazines: Tim Beever
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to sports fans, a lot of them love to collect anything that has to do with their favorite sport.
Fans will collect cards, jerseys, game programs, and whatever they can get their hands on to feed their sports fandom.
I was lucky enough to do an email interview with someone who collects, digitizes, and archives hockey magazines. He goes by the game Tim Beever and this is something he has been doing for a very long time.
Tim was kind enough to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he started archiving and digitizing hockey magazines, and why hockey magazines still hold a place in this ever increasing digital world. Give this man a follow on Twitter here and here and check out the interview below.
PH: How did you become a hockey fan?
TB: I grew up as a sports fan starting from when I was a youngster. The whole neighborhood was into sports; this was before video games, cable tv, etc so we were always playing something outside.
The 2 big ones were hockey and baseball for me. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.
PH: Who is your favorite team/player?
TB: I really don't have a favorite team even though I do the St Louis Blues history thing. Since the Blues usually don't make it far in the playoffs, I usually have a team that I don't want to win and typically root for who they are playing.
As far as my favorite players they would all be retired. My three favorites are Doug Gilmour, Doug Wickenheiser and Doug Palazzari, all for different reasons. Bernie Federko is right behind them.
PH: How did you get into archiving hockey magazines?
I got the bug when The Hockey News was doing the archive project to scan all issues of their magazines. I loaned several hundred issues that were needed to help them complete the full run of THN.
I had all these magazines, programs, and guides. They were great to have except for when I wanted to find something I had to dig through file cabinets, storage tubs or the shelves to find what I was looking for. Of course with older publications you can get that musty smell that you can never get rid of that I was getting tired of as well.
It was at that time of the THN project that I thought it would be great to have the full runs of Hockey Illustrated, Hockey Pictorial, and Hockey World digitized. Once those were complete I set out doing all the magazines I had.
That then grew to include the guides and programs and here we are today - the largest digitized collection of hockey publications.
I am currently just about paper free except for the new items I still need to do and a few items that I have saved.
When I started I would have never imagined there would be so much history in a portable hard drive. It's amazing the amount of material there is.
PH: How did you come up with the idea to start a Twitter account on Hockey Magazines?
TB: I have all this digitized material and think it should be available in some form for the masses. The Blues history account has grown to a good-size following so I decided to do a little spin off for all of hockey.
I started sharing different ads and then ventured into articles that appeared in the different publications via the new twitter account.
PH: Why do you think Hockey Magazines can still be valuable?
TB: I am a little biased, but I think old publications of any sport are great resources for the games' history. With the Internet you can search a lot of newspapers, but overall not very many in depth stories to be found there.
Most of the magazines had at least one excellent feature article if not more. They are a great resource for learning/sharing the history of the game.
PH: Has the Hockey Hall of Fame or even the NHL reached out to you about your collection?
TB: I have had conversations with the HHOF Resource Center. I have been there a couple times to do research. They would like a copy of everything. but how they would share the files is not acceptable to me.
Due to lack of resources they would not host them online. You would have to go in person to view. For me that defeats the purpose of easy accessibility to the files. Not everyone has the time available or the money to make a trip to Toronto to do research. A few other items would need to be worked out, but I would love for people to have access and have it be under my terms.
The end goal is to have everything available online. To do so I would need some help. I don't have the expertise or willing to spend the time and whatever money at this time it would take to do so.
Hopefully one day it can happen.
PH: You also have an account dedicated to the St. Louis Blues' History. Why did you decide to create this account?
TB: Partly for the same reason. I had a large archive of information and wanted to share the history of the Blues.
In my eyes the Blues themselves do not do a good job of sharing their history and that information was lacking as a whole. The twitter feed has helped bring back a lot of memories for people and has helped educate a lot of younger fans.
PH: Combined, these two accounts have a lot of followers. What are you trying to bring viewers/readers on a daily basis?
TB: I enjoy sharing the history of the St Louis Blues as well as the game of hockey. I do the accounts a little differently. The Blues feed is more date specific; the magazine feed is whatever happens to catch my eye at the moment.
PH: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us puckheads?
TB: I owned one of the two original St Louis Blues prototype jerseys. Story here:
My research has appeared in 100 Things Blues Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, numerous articles, "Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson", TV specials on the St Louis Blues, sportscasts and I have made several appearances on the radio.
Patrick currently covers the NHL here as well as for WTP Sports.
Has previously 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.