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Ending the performance; co-founder John Fontana steps aside

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"And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make." -- The Beatles, "The End", Abbey Road, 1969

Sharon Loe

And so it has come to this: I am one of the lucky people in the world — I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it...

-- Johnny Carson, The Tonight ShowMay 22nd, 1992

And so it has come to this... It's the point in time you might feel compelled to bark that I'd pair myself with the likes of Johnny Carson. Then again, the majority of younger readers may have simply seen that quote and were left asking, "Who?"  It's been a while, it's been a ways. It's been some time: 24 years ago, the spring just before the Tampa Bay Lightning started their competitive life as a franchise. I only had blogged about the Bolts for half those years.

Had blogged. Past tense.

After 12 years as an active Lightning web logger (the common term now being "blogger") and after seven years as the co-founder and managing general editor of Raw Charge, the time has come for me to step back.

Twelve years, ladies and gentlemen; it largely defies the time of being an active blogger. A full year is lucky, three years is usually marked as the top expanse of time someone spends doing that. Me? I did four times that.  I may boast longevity here but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Then again, while I step back as the one in charge of Raw Charge, I will still contribute articles and features on occasion, but my duties for the site are greatly reduced.

I must declare again something I touched on this past winter, that there's a pretty disabling disease in my body that's not often talked about broadly or fought against on the public level: Neurofibromatosis Type 2. I'd be lying to say that my condition isn't an influence on my decision to step back from my role as site manager, but I'd also be guilty of not-quite-being-honest to insinuate it's the main reason I'm stepping aside (it's not). I don't know if any member of professional hockey is reading (players, executives, others of influence for the Lightning or the NHL in general), or any person looking for a cause or role to be philanthropic about, but if you're looking for a cause that's rarely touched on, or if you're in need of something different than the common charity campaigns / causes often covered, I urge you to look into neurofibromatosis and neurofibromatosis type 2.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to some of my long-time peers and friends of the hockey blogosphere and hockey coverage. While people like Eric McErlain, Mike Chen, and Jes Golbez aren't as well known with hockey as they once were, they're part of the reason I kept going for so long -€” through winning, through losing, through lockouts and other major and minor stories tied to the league. James Mirtle, who is now with the Globe and Mail, is another person I owe thanks to. James was a blogger counterpart for a long time and then recruited me to join SB Nation and co-found Raw Charge. Thanks also go to SB Nation founder Tyler Bleszinski and SB Nation NHL top-dog Travis Hughes.

I say thanks to Chad Schnarr and the crew of Bolt Prospects, Bill Philp and his team of writing staff at Lightning Shout. I also have a deep thank you to extend toward the Lightning beat reporters of past and present  -€” Damien Cristodero, Erik Erlendsson, Joe Smith and Bryan Burns. Gentlemen, I'm a fan first and what you have offered in reading to the public over the years was part of what informed me and drove me.

Especially I'd like to thank Cassie McClellan; she was my partner in founding the site and worked through so much. If it weren't for Cassie's interest and support, I may have stepped away so much sooner (or Raw Charge may have never come to exist at all).  My thanks to you, Ms. McClellan. The same thanks and appreciation are shared for Raw Charge staff members past and present.

I also owe a very large amount of thanks toward Brian Breseman. Breseman is PR with the Tampa Bay Lightning and he helped enable progress in coverage of the team by letting Raw Charge get press releases and gain access through credentials.

So it has come to this. There's so much more to talk about with gratitude (peers and friends and such), yet it delays the inevitable; an end point.

Of course that doesn't mean Raw Charge is ending as a blog. No, no, no.... Achariya Rezak will be taking over as site manager. You should already know her from her time at Pension Plan Puppets, but she's a Lightning fan who started on SB Nation with us on Raw Charge. She's capable, dependable and affable and I certainly hope you'll be supportive as a reader and as a community member as we move forward. The excellence of Raw Charge goes on, supporting the Bolts for this eason and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an honor and a privilege to inform, opine and entertain you regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise and the sport of ice hockey. I certainly thank you for your reading. Who knows, time may bring me back to expressing myself regularly regarding the Bolts and the general NHL and I hope I can inform and entertain you by doing so.

With that said, I wish you the fondest farewell, adieu, good night....

And above all else, go Bolts!