We never expected this
On Jan. 20, 2023, I learned via email that The Ice Garden would no longer be managed and monetized by Vox Media and SB Nation. After February, our paid contributors — who make an inadequate modest monthly stipend — will no longer be paid by Vox. I have been at TIG since its inception back in October 2016 and have been running the site for four months. I wasn’t ready for that news. None of us were.
We also weren’t ready for what happened next.
After taking some time for self-care, on Jan. 23 at 9:08 p.m. I tweeted out a link to a GoFundMe with a stated goal of $1,500. A week later as I write this letter to our community, the GoFundMe has 224 donations eclipsing $12,000. The GoFundMe was meant to provide a safety net to keep the lights on while we transition to TIG’s next chapter. Clearly, it’s become so much more than that.
We have received donations from readers, collaborators, creators in the hockey space, players, players’ families, coaches, agents — the list goes on. I shared with someone close to me that I just hoped to see a few hundred dollars when the GoFundMe went live. I didn’t dare to hope that we’d see this kind of response from so many who value what we do and how we go about it.
The words ‘thank you’ feel entirely inadequate. I can’t thank everyone who donated or shared the GFM enough. I can’t speak for everyone on staff, but the response from the community has been overwhelming in the best way. Our operating budget was $900 — which was cut shortly after I took the reins from Michelle as managing editor.
A week and a half ago, I feared TIG might be dead. Now, I have hope. Now, I have plans.
I want to pay our creators more, and recruit and develop more folks for our team. Our plan for TIG 2.0 is still coming together but I can share that the vast majority of our content will be free and available to everyone — we believe that it’s important for content to be accessible. The women’s hockey community deserves quality content that everyone can experience. However, we will be moving to a subscription model — that’s a big change for all of us.
We’re working on what subscription tiers and what our exclusive content is going to look like. We’re working on potential partnerships. We’re working on a ton of things. Our goal as a group is for The Ice Garden to go independent and to support creators through subscriptions. It’s a big goal. Even with the response to the GFM, I’m nervous for the next steps. I know what TIG means to this community and to the folks who have built its reputation with me.
It’s an exciting and overwhelming time. The good news is that we have a lot of good people offering their help and time to get us to where we need to be. We have more friends than I ever thought we had. In particular, I want to make sure to thank our friends at The Victory Press, Black Rosie Media, The IX Newsletter, and our sibling SB Nation hockey blogs for all of their guidance and support. We aren’t in this alone.
Thank you. We love you. Because of all of you, we aren’t going anywhere except where we want to.
Long Live The Ice Garden.