Raw Charge Secret Santa 2018: Highlighting Achariya, the Queen

Achariya is the soul of Raw Charge.

Many might not know this, but Achariya is the reason I was brought onto Raw Charge. How she heard of me, I honestly have no clue. The only thing I can think of was a fanpost I had made during the beginning of the 2016-2017 season opener against the Detroit Red Wings—she apparently liked what she read. From there, she asked me to cover previews and some feature articles for that season.

During the following off season, she dove into the unknown by offering me the chance of being the credentialed reporter for the blog. The Tampa Bay Lightning agreed, and here I am. Needless to say, she took a massive risk on a random no name dude on the internet (who had no connections) to write and essentially become one of the faces for the blog. She’s gutsy, to say the least, and there are plenty of accolades to go around for her.

With this being the final “Secret Santa” of the series, I felt it was imperative that we leave Achariya as the final article in this run. She deserves this massive shout out.

Our Blog Mom

What Achariya means to this blog and fanbase is indescribable. The way she writes, edits, and speaks impact everyone at the blog (and she’s not even the editor anymore). She’s still our conscience and our kick in the ass when things need to be fixed.

We joke that she is our “blog mom,” but to a certain extent it really isn’t a joke. She’s stern, loving, charismatic, and willing to put her foot up someone’s ass if she needs to. She is exactly what Raw Charge needed after former editor John Fontana decided to step down two years ago.

During her time as editor she diversified our staff by bringing in myself (a Hispanic male) and Hardev Lad (an Indian male). She also brought back GeoFitz (one of the best writers on the site) and promoted Alex (our fantastic Syracuse Crunch editor). She brought in Alan (our current editor), promoted Justin (one of the best human beings I’ve ever met),  and found Saima (another one of the best human beings I’ve ever met). By inviting Igor (one of our amazing Russian translators) and Natalia (another one of our fantastic Russian translators) to join us, she helped make our coverage more inclusive. She also invited Adam to join us (he’s known as ‘Seldo’, but he’s one of our prospect guys), had Tom come in (another one of our prospect guys), and found Roland (our former graphic artist guru). She brought all of these people on board in under a year—she’s a bonafide badass.

I’m aware we’re supposed to pick a favorite article, but it’s honestly difficult for me to do so. Aside from Quick Strikes and a smattering of articles/fanposts (including this hilarious tongue in cheek one about a jersey policy), Achariya left a lot of the bulk writing to us. Now, she did start doing a series after she passed on the Editorship of the blog (which is fantastic in and of itself) which deserves a read (seriously, stop reading my garbage and read her piece on Katie Strang), but Acha’s most impactful contributions were behind the scenes.

Meeting Achariya

The biggest takeaways from meeting her face-to-face was this: she’s one of the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve ever encountered (and don’t get her started on Lord of the Rings nerd-dom, her and I could probably go on for hours about that—seriously, don’t test us, haha). She had the welcoming smile of a mother, yet at the same time the demeanor of a boss who knew what you were capable of and wouldn’t accept anything less than your best.

The next time I met her in person was on October 21, 2017 when she decided to cover a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I had car problems this day which delayed my arrival to the game (I arrived around the halfway mark of the first period), but again, there she was, diligently taking notes in our assigned seat like the boss that she is. Once I arrived, she gave me a hug and began catching me up on what had occurred thus far. Later, her, Geofitz, and myself met up after the game (another Lightning victory) to pose for a “Raw Charge portrait” (don’t ask me about the name).

Aside from being a fantastic person to work under, she is also an amazing human being, unabashedly willing to state her opinion on certain topics without a care in the world. This has influenced me to speak my mind on matters outside of hockey more. I’m nowhere near her level of “I do not care what you think,” but I’ve definitely spread my two cents on a fair bit of issues because of her influence.

However, Achariya never allowed her own person beliefs to interfere with her ability to manage Raw Charge. At no point was she ever unprofessional in her duties or ill-fitted to run the site. She was, and always will be, the best thing to ever happen to this site—I stand firmly by this and will battle anyone to the death in a duel of wizardry (Confringo!).

Achariya’s farewell post was short, sweet, and to the point, like she always has been. From her posts on the blog to her appearance on Charged Up, she never speaks more than needed (something I should really try to work on), and always gets her point across.

The readership of the blog has grown under her watch (and continues to grow under loserpoints). Achariya is the reason this growth first occurred, and she deserves every ounce of love and respect we can conjure (although it probably still isn’t enough to do her justice). Thus, everyone should bombard her Twitter account with copious amounts of “Thank you’s,” “I love you’s,” “You’re amazing’s,” and “Never stop being you’s,” because she deserves every ounce of it.

(She also has some awesome cosplays!)