Plenty of college graduates find work in their chosen field and go on to fulfilling careers. But few can say they’ve landed their “dream job.”
Meet Dan Myers, digital content coordinator for the Minnesota Wild. A Minnesota State alum (class of ‘07), Myers worked at The Reporter for several years prior to graduation. After a series of jobs he finally found his way to the NHL.
He’s in town this week for Hockey Day Minnesota, the Wild’s annual, traveling celebration of the state’s official sport. With Hockey Day taking place in Mankato this year, a Q&A with Myers seemed like a natural fit.
The Reporter: Tell us about your involvement with Hockey Day Minnesota.
Dan Myers: I was down last week and chatted with folks on the MSU men’s and women’s hockey teams, as well as people from both Mankato East and West boys and girls teams to kind of lay the groundwork for stories I’m in the process of writing.
From that point on I’ll be trying to tell the stories of these games of these teams and why this event is so important and such a big deal. Hockey Day has never been done in southern Minnesota before.
The Reporter: How important is it that Hockey Day has come to Mankato?
Dan Myers: It’s the 14th edition of Hockey Day and, for the first time, it’s being done south of the Twin Cities. There’s such a rich history of hockey in that part of the state that so many people don’t know about. We’re excited to show people that the state of hockey doesn’t stop at Lakeville or Rosemount. It goes all the way down to Mankato and beyond.
The Reporter: Describe your role with the wild.
Dan Myers: My title is digital content coordinator. And it’s a long title for essentially being the team’s beat writer. It’s my job to tell the team’s story on our official website, wild.com.
The Reporter: The Wild are having a pretty good season. Is it more fun to work there when they’re doing well?
Dan Myers: Yes, it’s easier to tell stories and more people engage with the content when the team is having success. The fans are generally happier when the team is doing well. And the guys on the team, not surprisingly, are a little more open and a little more willing to interact with us as members of the media.
The Reporter: When you were hired, you described it as getting your dream job. Why?
Dan Myers: I was one of the rare kids that went to Minnesota State in fall of 2003 that knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was the sports editor and the editor in chief of my high school newspaper.
I knew from the time I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to get into sports writing. On the first day of freshman orientation I got a job with The Reporter.
Initially I wanted to cover the NFL. But during my freshman year I got the opportunity to cover the Minnesota State women’s hockey team as my beat, which turned into covering Minnesota State’s men’s team. And I knew from the middle of my freshman year that I wanted to cover hockey.
The Reporter: So what do you remember most fondly? About your time at MSU?
Dan Myers: I met my wife there. I met my best friends here. All three of them were groomsmen in my wedding.
From a career standpoint, working at The Reporter was vital to where I am right now. I wouldn’t be where I am without my time at The Reporter.
The Reporter: Any advice for students who may be interested in a career in the professional sports or media media business?
Dan Myers: Network as much as possible. Having an undergrad degree certainly helps. But, for me … I had to grind and grind. I drove a school bus and wiped down tables at one point to keep my dream alive. These are things I did for three or four years between my first full-time job out of college — which paid $25,000 a year until I got laid off in 2008 when the economy changed, and I got laid off — until my big break came in 2011 when NHL.com came calling.
They were looking for someone to cover the (Wild’s) home games. And it wasn’t my college degree that got me in the door. A guy who I freelanced for recommended me to NHL.com.
I didn’t even have to interview for the job. They called and offered it to me on the spot.
Then in the fall of 2016, the guy who had the job I have now left and, again, I had to interview but they basically told me the job is yours if you want it.
It was all knowing people and getting as much practical experience as I can and doing whatever I could do to keep that dream alive.
Network network network. Because, as the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and that’s 100% True.
Header photo: Dan Myers (left) and Kevin Gorg complete an interview for Hockey Day Minnesota. Myers worked at The Reporter prior to graudation from Minnesota State and will be returning to Mankato for Hockey Day.