Minnesota State High School League criticized after Michael Russo, The Athletic barred from hockey tourney

Big name local media personalities are criticizing the MSHSL.
Publish date:
state hockey tournament, mshsl


Michael Russo of The Athletic announced Thursday night that the Minnesota State High School League has now granted them access to the hockey tournament. 

Original story

It's gotten ugly on Twitter for the Minnesota State High School League during one of the organization's most celebrated times of the year. 

In the thick of the Minnesota Boys' State Hockey Tournament, the MSHSL is being criticized after nationally-known hockey writer Michael Russo revealed that the league refused to provide The Athletic media credentials to cover the tournament. 

Russo heads up the Minnesota branch of The Athletic, and is best known for his coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL. 

The proverbial you-know-what hit the fan Wednesday morning when Russo responded to a subscriber asking why there isn't any tourney coverage on The Athletic website. 

Why block The Athletic from covering the tournament? Because The Athletic has a paywall, which is increasingly commonplace in modern day online media. 

"Said bylaws are clear that they don’t credential paywalls even though they credentialed us last year," Russo tweeted. "Don’t worry, you can read The Athletic credentialed for every single other major event on the continent except for this one." 

Russo noted that The Athletic was given access to the tournament last year and added that the MSHSL was "making up reasons as they went along."

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The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, both of which have paywalls built into their websites, albeit allow a certain number of "free" articles before the paywall kicks in, are both credentialed and covering the hockey games per usual. 

KFAN's Dan Barreiro reacted on Twitter: "Tell me you're kidding." 

"Nope," said Russo. "No paywalls even though the newspapers they credential have paywalls and need to be purchased by readers in print and online. They credentialed us last year. Just kept on changing their reasons this year."

He added that they were denied "weeks ago" and that the MSHSL's last response to him was: "The language in the League’s Media Policy Manual is clear that content from website reporters must be free to all readers. The Athletic has a paywall."

Bring Me The News has reached out to the MSHSL for comment and will update the story if and when a response is given. 

Reactions from other major media personalities have flooded in, all of them in disbelief at Russo's story, including former WCCO-TV anchor Mark Rosen, The Athletic's John Krawczynski, KFAN's Paul Allen and NHL Network's Brian Lawton. 

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