Dan Hamhuis’ first interview

As the Sports Editor for the Smithers Interior News, I got a tip that a local kid had been chosen for the B.C. hockey team to compete at the Canada Winter Games. I interviewed Dan Hamhuis at his family home in the summer of 1998.

I followed his career to Prince George, where his coach at the time told me that “We’ll be hearing about Dan for years to come.” Dan went on to play for the Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks, and now the Dallas Stars – with appearances at the Olympics for Team Canada.

Here is the first profile on Dan Hamhuis that appeared in the local newspaper.

He’s quiet and definitely not one to brag. But you can tell by the smile on his face that he’s pretty darn happy.

Dan Hamhuis, 15, from Smithers, made the hockey B.C. Best Ever team, and is the only player north of Kamloops to be chosen. Hamhuis will be one of six defencemen playing for B.C. at the 1999 Canadian Winter Games in Corner Brook, Nfld. next February.

Hamhuis found out that he made the team during the last tryout camp held in Osoyoos, that ran July 24 to Aug. 2 after a one-on-one interview with the coaches. The coaches told him that he had a good camp, and they thought he played really strong that morning.  And then they said the magic words: Come play for us.

“It was hard not to smile,” Hamhuis said, as he cracks a grin. Just before the interview, Hamhuis said he that he was a little nervous as to what the verdict was going to be. “I’ve been there before and it’s the same feeling,” he said of the pressure.

But it wasn’t time to kick back and relax just yet. The kids who were picked stayed until the Sunday for team practices, after hearing the news Thursday. The next time the group will be together will be Dec. 26 to 30 in Campbell River. They have a schedule of games against junior B teams from all over the province: Campbell River Storm Jr. B, North Island Junior B all Stars and Nanaimo Clippers.

For now, he’s working on what he needs to improve on. He got a report card where the coaches evaluated him on his skills, coachability and his attitude. And what he got back from them was a glowing report card. If it was a school report card, he’d be on the honour roll. But it’s not like he’s going to brag about it.

“I don’t evaluate myself, I just like to play hockey,” he said. “But it’s neat to see what other people think of my play and it’s also really nice to have them tell me what I have to improve.”

Hamhuis feels that age is definitely a factor at camps like these, and that him being a year younger than most of the guys trying out didn’t help his chances. He says that his work ethic and his ability to follow directions put him ahead of the cut. Every day pre-ice instruction was held, where the coaches would draw out the drills on the board and then go to the ice, and see how everyone follows directions. Hamhuis says that he tried to remember little things, like moving his feet while on the ice between drills, he tried to do them all.

“It’s harder to pay attention to those things as you get tired but you try to keep focused,” he said.

“There were some really good players there, but they didn’t use the systems or didn’t know how to use the systems,” he added. “They (the coaches) looked for specifics.” 

Leadership qualities were also an asset during this camp. Although he’s quiet and shy off the ice, he still possesses qualities of a leader.

“With our Smithers team, I try to lead by example,” Hamhuis said. “But with so many good players, it’s hard to lead example. You have to be a bit more vocal.”

Meet Simone

Thanks for stopping by my site.

Here’s the 411 on my professional background: I have over 20+ years of communications experience, including in journalism, local government, non-profits and education. My journalistic writing won national and provincial awards, and I have carried that passion for the written word into a career harnessing the power of stories to shape the world around us.

I edit non-fiction, corporate reports, marketing materials and, apparently, a lot of my son’s essays. Where I really shine is helping clients through the process of writing, coaching them through major projects be it manuscript writing or revisions.

I haven’t come across a deadline I couldn’t meet, and have a particular soft spot for using my storytelling powers for good. So if you have an inspiring story and want to change the world, then we should definitely talk.

I am most at home while meandering trails with my dog, or behind a camera.

Check out my work, or send me a message.


What I do

I do words. What I lack in snowboarding skills, I totally make up for in good grammar.



I worked in newsrooms for 15+ years, producing pages of copy on news, features, sports and business throughout British Columbia. I was an editor for years, combing through piles of text looking for inaccuracies, gaps in stories and, of course, stray commas. And I never missed a deadline.

Now, I edit non-fiction manuscripts, corporate reports, marketing materials and my son’s essays. It is a different world than being a writer, and I always remain mindful of a client’s goals when editing and being sensitive to their voice. But above all else, I commit to being honest – because you deserve no less.


I had a manager once say that proofreading is like picking fly sh!t from the pepper. Evidently, I’m a magnet for fly poop – although not sure if I should put that on my business card. No matter if you need Chicago, MLA, Associated Press/Canadian Press styles, I can make sure your work is polished to a professional standard so you can hit “publish” with confidence.

Writing coach

Here’s the thing: everyone has a story, but most people don’t know how to write it. I work with writers to help them identify their voice with exercises that build their manuscript at the same time. My method works, and clients have said they felt supported and nurtured throughout the process. First things first, though: your writing coach must be a good fit for you. If you have a book idea, drop me a line. I would love to chat with you to see if we would be a match (without any weird online dating vibes, promise).

Copywriting and content marketing

Here are just a few ways my writing can help your enterprise:

  • website copy
  • content marketing
  • feature writing
  • social media strategy and posts
  • newsletter writing
  • email campaigns
  • creative direction

Public relations

For years, I was the one decided whether someone’s news releases saw the light of day. Now I use that knowledge and discerning editor eye to help clients get the attention they need from intended audiences. I write news releases, media advisories and communications plans. Need media training? I can do that, too.

Sneak a peek at what I’ve done

Take a look at my work samples to get a feel for what I have done in the past. Looking for something else? I’m pretty creative, so contact me and let’s see what we can do.


Review: Shag Carpet Action

Go on, get dirty. Matthew Firth’s Shag Carpet Action is raw, raunchy and ready to make you blush.

This collection of short stories pushes readers into the kink of ennui, how idle hands make the devil’s work of base urges. The more disengaged the character, the more bawdy the fantasy.  These stories illustrate how a body at stasis inspires the mind to race. From midnight oily Greek wrestling, debating the merits of Brazilian waxing on public transit, undergoing a vasectomy to hairy nipples and masturbating with action figures, Shag Carpet Action chronicles urban legends of sexual debauchery and desire. The writing is stubborn – it forces the reader to put niceties aside and consider what a night out with a coked-up garbageman would entail.

The cornerstone of the collection is “Dog Fucker Blues,” a novella set during heated labour negotiations that are polarizing the workforce. It’s a glimpse into the desolate attitude within monotonous city operations, but also the “good-vs-evil” division in union ranks pulled between the more chaste pursuit of solidarity and hedonistic self-absorption.

Although the level of discord is hyperbolized, the politics and violence are noteworthy in a curious way, particularly as Firth is a trade unionist by day.  There is so much brash realism, you’ll swear some pages feel sticky. But with the title “Shag Carpet Action,” you can’t say you weren’t warned.  So go on, get dirty. You know you want to.

A line that stuck: “Although, looking at her, there was little chance anyone would confuse her for a hottie – an Estonian shot-putter, maybe.” 

Shag Carpet Action, Matthew Firth, Anvil Press, 2011. ISBN: 1897535848