The process from my inquiring about running the New York Rangersblog here on SBNation to the official launch of Blueshirt Banter on March 19th2009 was actually about four months. SBNation was just starting to grow their hockey coverage in earnest, and (understandably so) they were looking for an established Rangers blog to come to the network and bring a following.
But after being unable to find a match, the powers-that-be at the network agreed to give me the opportunity to be the Managing Editor, my son came up with the awesome logo you see on the site, and Blueshirt Banter was born.
As we crack open the best bottle of champagne $4 can buy to toast our first birthday, I want to take a few minutes to thank the following people:
Note by Joe Fortunato: The true hero here is Jim. He was too modest to add himself but let me tell you that in the eleven months that I have "worked" here I have never met a more compassionate, more caring, or more driven individual. Jim is the reason behind why this site works, he taught me everything I know (and he was smart enough to bring me on). But most importantly he instilled the ideology that we have to care more for the fans of the site, then the site will come along next, and it shows. Thank you. (And thanks for dealing with my awful spelling! I'll learn eventually!)
Ryan McFadden: Although Ryan has gone off to study abroad, and isn't around to contribute much anymore, I'll never forget how he was here for me in the early days of the site when usually we were the only ones commenting on our own stories.
Joe Fortunato: This site would not be where it is today if not for Joe. He's not only a great writer, but I am proud to call him my good friend. I could never, ever, have done this without you Joe, and I am eternally grateful to you. You've been there for me for every up and down this site has had, and I hope you know how much I appreciate it.
Eddie Gieck: I met Eddie because of Joe and our radio show, and we have developed a great friendship to go along with our terrific working relationship. I look forward to many more laughs, Eddie, thanks for always helping me look at the lighter side of things.
Nick Montemagno: Our newest member of the Banter
Rob Luker: Rob came on in the early going as well, and always manages to find different ideas to write about. Thanks Rob!
Laurie Carr: Laurie runs a terrific site of her own, but helps us out with some of the unknown stories from Europe that she is able to translate for us. Thanks Laurie.
Readers Hall Of Fame:JoshNY, KingHenrik, stonecoldcory, FreeBradshaw, rmc235: All of these guys joined the site in the opening days, and have never left. Thanks guys!
To mleetch, dbmaven, DCRanger, 17ToTheRafters, AveryGod, Lunkwill, giantsNYrangers, and all of you who contribute every day, you are all part of the success of this site, and you have my undying gratitude.
Special thanks to James Mirtle, Ed Valentine, and the entire SBNation
Also want to thank my wife of almost ten years, who spends many a night talking to the back of my laptop and never (well almost never, but not as much as she has a right to)complains.
This birthday isn't about us, it's about you guys who have made this site what it is, the best place on the internet to talk Ranger hockey. Here's to many more years of "Bantering", and may we all see another Cup before we are too old to enjoy it! You guys prove to me every day that Ranger fans are the best fans in hockey. My financial situation didn't permit me trips to NY like I was hoping this season, but I promise you, my goal for next season is to knock a few back with as many of you as I can.