Defending Big D Welcomes Four New Writers

The DBD writing staff has grown by four to help cover the Dallas Stars in 2015-16 and beyond.

The Defending Big D crew is pleased to announce four new staff writers are joining our crew to help us continue to offer comprehensive coverage of the Dallas Stars.

Marcus Dingler and David Castillo will be primarily news and features writers, and David will contribute a bit on links as well. Melissa Flandreau and Kathleen Tibbetts will be responsible for both links and features, as we're trying to spread out the links load a bit over the next year. Mr. Links Extraordinaire, Robert Tiffin, will be staying on and moving into a news and features role after the links hand off in the next few weeks.

For those interested, the writing structure of Defending Big D now looks like this:

Managing Editors:
Josh Lile

Taylor Baird
Erin Bolen
Brad Gardner

Staff Writers:
David Castillo
Marcus Dingler
Melissa Flandreau
Wes Lawrence
Derek Neiumeier
Kathleen Tibbetts
Robert Tiffin
Huw Wales

Contributing Writers:
Stephen Meserve

We had nearly 50 people apply initially for the open positions, and we'd like to thank everyone who took the time to submit both initial interest and further writing. It was an extremely strong field of candidates. We recruit once to twice a year depending on need, so missing this time doesn't mean we weren't impressed.

So welcome to our new writers as they join us in our quest to document this wonderful, frustrating, and ridiculous hockey team. Below are their introductions to the DBD readers in their own words:

David Castillo

I’m 33 and fell in love with hockey through accident, and by accident I mean I grew up on boxing thanks to my dad’s amateur background. Through the love of all things combat, I found myself interested in hockey’s sub culture of pugilism thanks to being adventurous at the local Blockbuster, and stumbling onto Don Cherry’s Rock 'Em Sock 'Em VHS tapes in the early 90’s.

My love of combat sports survives. Writing extensively on what the hell punk rock and Russian prohibitionism has to do with one another as seen through the eyes of prizefighter is proof enough. But so is something actually relevant, like my interview with Sports Gene author, David Epstein, on head injuries and the future of genetics.

But where my love of combat sports survives, my love of hockey thrives. It started in 1996 playing hockey video games (Mutant League Hockey being the crown jewel), and then blossomed from watching the Mighty Ducks with the aid of my half Polish-half Latino cousins who actually played and were good, into the culmination of full blown fandom in 1998.

My fandom has what you might call literal street cred, as I watched game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche in 1999 at my grandmother’s house. However, as she wasn't there, she forgot to lock the door, which prompted my dad and I to climb through one of the living room windows from the outside. A watchful neighbor did the neighborly thing and reported a break in to the cops. Several minutes later I was demanded at gun point to step away from the Dallas Stars game. And so I did. The situation was eventually explained to everyone, Dallas won that series, kept winning after that, and the rest became history; a history I thankfully didn't have to become a part of. Now armed with a license to be pretentious (B.A. in Philosophy in other words), I go wherever my curiosity takes me, be it the classroom, or just the comfort of my new home in San Antonio, where I aggressively pretend to be writer.

Defending Big D is a place I’ve always wanted to be a part of. There’s a professionalism on this website that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else, and it’s done while providing the readers consistent content that never wanes in quality. My hope is that I can contribute to that quality. So thank you.

Marcus Dingler

My dad was a football player, and my mother was a piano major. I was not brought up with a hockey stick in my hand rushing to practices at six in the morning, but I can remember the minute I became a Stars’ fan. In 1999 I went to family gathering at my cousins’ house. I remember we ate chicken fajitas and drank sweet tea. The entire family moved into the living room and buckled in for what would eventually become a life experience. Everyone on this page knows the game. I do not remember specifics as much as I remember emotions. I remember feeling the hypertension of the moment. I remember the spasms of activity when we got close, and the hopeless looks when Buffalo did the same. I remember, as the game wore on, being able to feel the pulse of the room as everyone’s hearts moved into their throats. I remember the moment the room got quiet for a second, and then exploded. "THE STARS WIN THE STANLEY CUP!" That was it, I was hooked.

I grew up in Dallas, Texas and attended Southern Methodist University with a major in Business Management and a Minor in Applied Physiology and Sport Management. Benn and Seguin’s mothers joked about attending the school, and joining the program from which I graduated. I work at a bank as a credit analyst in Midland, Texas. Finance pays the bills, but hockey and writing have my heart.

I am a long time reader of Defending Big D, but I also like to read other NHL SB Nation blogs. I am a frequent reader at Second City Hockey (I hate-stalk them), Arctic Ice Hockey, and Fear The Fin. Other teams have great writers and fan participation, but none of them come close to what has been built at Defending Big D. Despite the lean and frustrating years this group of fans has thrived. We have many people to thank for that, but you guys, the community, are what make this site great. I am thrilled to be a part of your lives in some small way, and truly grateful for this opportunity.

Melissa Flandreau

I’m a long-time DBD lurker who finally decided to crawl out of the woodwork. I just moved back to Texas in the fall after a few years in North Carolina and Alabama, so it’s been great to finally be in Dallas—and at the AAC—again. (Side note: During that time, I graduated from UNC, so if you cheer for Duke, I'll assume you also love the Ducks, hate puppies, and enjoy seeing evil triumph over all things pure and good.)

I’ve been cheering for the Stars since I was little, and I still remember going to my first game—against Anaheim at Reunion Arena. After making the playoffs last year and seeing Jamie Benn dominate this year, I’m excited to see what this team can accomplish in upcoming seasons.

Reading DBD got me through the dark days of having to pretend I liked the ‘Canes, so I’m thrilled to be a part of the team and can’t wait to get started.

Kathleen Tibbetts

While the Dallas Stars were playing for the Stanley Cup in 1999, I was taking a evening software engineering class. Back then, we had cell phones and not smart phones, and not all of us even those, and laptops in the classroom were not even allowed. So a couple of classmates took turns calling friends during breaks on game nights, ducking out into the hallway (or, likely, onto the quad, where the reception was better) and dashing back in with breathless reports on the team's progress. Good times.

The Stars' playoff run in 2014 reminded me how exciting these shared experiences can be, and the DBD community was a great place to discover during that time. I've been a professional writer for a number of years, but it's always a good thing when you get a chance to keep your skills sharp on a subject you love. I enjoy this community and look forward to helping out around the place.

Sorry for the brevity, but I'm less good at talking about myself than I am about virtually anything else. Let's be friends.