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Welcome to our new OTF staff!

On the Forecheck has some new writers joining us!

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We have some new regular staff joining us at On the Forecheck, and I’m extremely excited to introduce them. We got a lot of fantastic applicants, including several it hurt not to have room for—I love that Nashville Predators hockey has so many talented people who love it and who want to spend their time writing about it.

We’ll be continuing our coverage of the Predators’ new additions this week as well, with further in-depth breakdowns on the prospects, the cap space, and whatever else happens, but for now, I’ll let the newcomers introduce themselves—in alphabetical order, since even if we did have a draft order (we don’t) it would be rude to share it:

Ann K

My name is Ann K, and I am thrilled to be joining the OTF team! I have been an overly-emotionally-invested sports fan since I cried in my room every January for four consecutive years when the Buffalo Bills lost their Super Bowls. Football was my first love—I even named one of my sons after a favorite NFL player. I grew up watching football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer—any sport I could find to watch...except hockey.

I came to hockey much later in life. I had never even seen a hockey game on television when a friend insisted I attend a Predators game with her six years ago. While I displayed my novice fandom by referring to the penalty box as the “time-out booth” and packing mittens (just in case), I fell madly in love with Predators hockey that night. It’s been a love affair ever since. There may or may not be a tattoo. (There is.)

I am a wife and mom to three and first degree black belt in MMA. Along with hockey, I obsess over Broadway musicals, The West Wing reruns, and pie. I am a Yankee transplant who has grown to love sweet tea and fried pickles. Bringing new fans into the Predators family and helping them learn about the sport is my goal.

Bryan Bastin

Bryan Bastin became a Predators fan like so many others—during the Stanley Cup run. A self-admitted “bandwagon fan,” he vowed to stick with it in the coming seasons, and has since then not missed listening to/watching/attending a game.

He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Tennessee (2005-2013), the latter of which gave him the statistics background he would use towards jumping into the world of hockey analytics. Bryan has been a Nashville resident since 2013, moving here with his wife for the birth of his oldest daughter (and apparent future goalie) and a new career. His second daughter was born in September 2018, so late nights digging into statistics for Predators games came naturally, as he didn’t get much sleep last season anyway.

Bryan currently works in Nashville in oncology research. He has started dabbling in data visualization using Tableau, including hockey viz featured in an April OTF story about the JOFA line, as well as the in-game/post-game charts he posted on twitter during the 2018-2019 season.

Places He’s Lived: Arkansas, North Dakota, Germany, Japan, Florida, and Tennessee
Favorite NCAA Team: Tennessee Volunteers
Favorite NFL Team: Dallas Cowboys
Earliest Hockey Memory: Attending UND games as kid in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Nick Morgan

When it comes to joining On The Forecheck... I like it, I love it, I want some mo... eh, you get it.

I’m ecstatic about being able to cover my hometown team and being able to have some great hockey discussion with all of you!

I’ve been a follower of the Preds since the day the franchise was announced. I still have the “inaugural team” poster hanging up in my room back in Franklin (we’ll never forget you, Jan Vopat), and—true story—nearly died in an ice storm just to see them take on the two-time champion Red Wings back in December 1998. Good times.

Career-wise, I’ve been fortunate enough to cover sports all across the country. I’ve worked in Bowling Green, Nashville, Atlanta, and currently, Cincinnati. Some of my favorite moments include being on the sidelines for Super Bowl 51 (the 28-3 game), covering the last game at Turner Field, and getting to interview Hank Aaron one-on-one. When I’m not doing that hockey, you’ll probably see me in the crowd of some random sporting event, randomly singing Broadway show tunes, and having heated debates over life topics such as “Does Pineapple Belong on Pizza?” and “If You Could Be Any Flavor of Ice Cream, What Would It Be and Why?”

I like random hockey discussion, so give me a follow on Twitter (@_nsmorgan) and start up a convo.

Sarah Hager

Hey y’all! If you like southern colloquialisms, bad jokes, snark, and all things petty in sports, I’m your girl.

Hockey was not a sport I was “born into.” This SEC-bred southerner was raised on basketball and football, which is why I feel a sense of kinship with Smashville; the NHL might not have been a fandom we were born into, but no one can take away the passion we’ve found or the community within the sport we’ve created.

I discovered Preds hockey as a college student driving “down the road” from Western Kentucky University. I continued to explore the team as an intern with WKRN in the summer of 2013, where I covered the team’s off-season moves like the drafting of Seth Jones and the signing of Matt Cullen.

I’ve sat in the crowd and watched this team grow from a 2013 team that went down 5-1 in the first period to the then-Phoenix Coyotes, to a team in June of 2017 so talented and hungry we stopped a wedding reception to turn on the game and cheer on the Preds to a playoff game win.

Hockey was the sport I discovered and learned for myself. My passion for the game surpassed the sports I was raised on—I mean, really, what other sport could I yell in unison “you suck” to the tune of music?

Outside of hockey, I’m a journalist who enjoys books, superhero movies, sarcasm, traveling, and—most importantly—my dog Humphrey.

Give me a follow on Twitter (@SarahKHager) or Instagram (@SarahKathrynHager) if you’d like to fully embrace my quirky world (that’s mostly filled with pictures of Humphrey). I hope you’ll say, that Sarah, nice girl. Tries hard. Loves the game.

Welcome, new OTF writers! Over the next few days their work will start appearing here on the site as we continue to evaluate the Predators’ recent moves and start to look forward into the summer. I’m so excited to be sharing it with you all.