Matt Klinkenberg wins the PHWA’s Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship

Matt Klinkenberg, 2018 recipient of the Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship with his parents, Liz and Marty. (Photo courtesy the Klinkenberg family).

The Professional Hockey Writers Association is proud to announce Matt Klinkenberg as 2018 winner of the Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship.

Klinkenberg is the son of PHWA member Marty Klinkenberg a staff writer of the Globe and Mail based in Edmonton.

Matt Klinkenberg won the scholarship after submitting an essay detailing his father’s devotion to writing about hockey.

It’s a passion they both share.

“I enjoy writing,” Matt said. “It’s definitely something that I’ve always enjoyed doing, especially the creative side where you get to pick your own kind of topic and where you want to go with it. Not like writing papers and history papers, stuff like that. Not a lot of kids will say this honestly but when I finally finish an essay or something like that … it’s satisfying to know that I sat down and wrote something that I’m happy with it.

“That’s basically how I feel about writing. I’m just happy to do it if it’s something I’m passionate writing about.”

While Marty works in Edmonton, Matt, a native of St. Martins, New Brunswick, attends school at Emmanuel College in Boston. Family brought him south.

“My grandmother lives in Rhode Island,” Matt said. “Me and my mom moved down here to take care of my grandmother who’s 95 now. We were just living down here taking care of her. I went to high school in Rhode Island and I did a prep year in New Hampshire. Then I came here to go to school in Boston.”

The 19-year-old worked as a security guard at Fenway Park this summer primarily during Red Sox games.

“They came to school one day,” said Matt. “They hire a lot of kids over here. It’s a 10-minute walk. I walk over every day. There’s some parts where I’m like, ‘I hate this.’ But I’ve seen some of the coolest things and memories that I’ll hang on to for the rest of my life.”

Entering his sophomore year, Matt Klinkenberg is majoring in political science while also minoring in sports marketing.

His essay can be read below:

By Matt Klinkenberg

My dad has always taught me to be passionate in what you do. Even at his toughest moments he has always been devoted to his job. I am going to try my best to properly articulate, my father and his love of being a hockey reporter.

For as long as I can remember my father, Marty Klinkenberg, has always lived for the big story. Always trying to capture the

essence and precise details of a story so that people don’t just read a piece but they actually interact with it. Although, hockey writing is a relatively new gig for him he has never been happier. Born and raised in Miami, hockey should have no place in his decorated journalism career. He grew up watching the Dolphins and Marlins, covering sailing and college football. He often talks about his first Panthers memory in which Wayne Gretzky donated hockey equipment to kids in a Miami school while on his first road trip to Miami. Living in Edmonton and covering hockey is something that even his family can’t believe actually happened. However, my father loves sports and, most importantly, he loves a good story.

His interest in hockey started with me when I began playing back in New Brunswick when I was four. He started following it and even sometimes covering the Saint John Sea Dogs, our local junior team. His love of hockey has only grown since moving to Edmonton. He has followed every single move the Oilers have made even before his new job with The Globe and Mail. Hockey has not only become an interest of his, it has become a huge part of his life. Hockey is much more than a sport to him. The athletes are much more than just talented professionals. The sport, the aroma of a hockey rink, the athletes, they all have a story. Not just some quote, about how they need to get the defencemen to turn their hips and cycle the puck. Stories that highlight what type of life and experiences these stellar athletes have had. Reaching them on a respectful yet personal level to tell a story that is worth telling. He is determined and passionate in writing an enjoyable piece about Canada’s most famous and interesting stars. He works all day and all night.He lives for a good story and most importantly the Edmonton Oilers. How do I know this? Let me tell you a story.

In June of 2017, my father suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while sitting at his desk, writing nonetheless. He called the paramedics

and crawled up three flights of stairs to open the door for 911. As I got home that night in Boston and heard what happened, I was sent out to Edmonton the next morning. When I arrived in Seattle for my connecting flight, I was told that he was having emergency brain surgery. Thankfully, that turned out not be the case.

I arrived in Edmonton. My father had gone through three days of hell, however, he was dedicated and driven to be in positive spirits. He wanted to be home for Canada Day weekend and was determined to not let this incident hold him back from doing the things he loves the most. I walked into the hospital and saw him for the first time in three months and we exchanged our hellos and I sat down on the bed. The first thing he said to me: “Has McDavid signed his extension yet?”

If that doesn’t explain my father’s passion and love for being a hockey writer in one of the biggest markets in Canada, I don’t know what does. While sitting in a hospital bed, he wanted to know about the Oilers. About hockey. About his normal life. Writing is his life and covering the Edmonton Oilers is the culmination and high point of his career. He lives for Saturday nights in Edmonton. For a person who has moved around and covered a lot of different things, he has never been happier covering hockey.

Covering Canada’s national pastime is more than just a job to him. It is a lifestyle and one that he loves to be a part of and he will never shy away from telling a good story regardless of what’s going on, it’s just who he is.

History of the Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship:

The Jim Kelley Memorial Scholarship was established in 2016 to honor the memory of past PHWA president Jim Kelley, a gifted Buffalo News columnist who passed away in 2010 after a brave battle with cancer. Kelley was the 2004 recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Award at the Hockey Hall of Fame for excellence in hockey journalism.

The one-year, $1,500 USD scholarship is awarded exclusively to the son or daughter of a PHWA member who is actively enrolled in college or university-level study.

Winners:
2016 – Paula Duhatschek, daughter of Eric Duhatschek (International)
2017 – Sylvanna Gross, daughter of Andrew Gross (New Jersey)
2018 – Matt Klinkenberg, son of Marty Klinkenberg(Edmonton)

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