Above the Glass
by Samantha on 04/19/11 at 01:20 PM ET
Until now, I have only been an innocent bystander to the occasional exchange of unpleasantries between fans at hockey games. I would agree that hockey has come a long way in its quest to promote the sport as fun, family entertainment (in Portland, they actually have a jumbotron message that reminds fans to refrain from swearing). But let’s face it: an occasional scrap is one of the things that keeps the game interesting. Except when it’s me who wants to drop the mitts and go at it with a fan who got in my face while I was taking notes at a Winterhawks game. It’s old school, but it works for me and most fans know I blog and they pay me no mind. Alas, not all fans received the memo, like the dude who got right behind me and started reading over my shoulder like those people who try to read the paper over your shoulder on the morning subway ride. When I took the high road and restrained from dropping the mitters and simply put the notebook down, I got this choice, grade A, number one, cheese whiz on a cracker zinger: “It’s girl writing, you probably can’t understand it anyway.” After carefully considering the possible responses and realizing that none of them were legal, it occurred to me that we need a better system for cracking down on eggheads like this. Therefore, I propose that instead of ushers and the occasional security guy roaming the stands, any organization whose name ends in HL hire a few unemployed referees to apply the rules of hockey to unruly fans.
The flip side of fame: Last summer, when I joined Dylan Bumbarger as a community blogger at oregonlive, the man who previously blogged on that space declared on Twitter “they’ve turned over Dylan’s oregonlive blog to a bunny. Should make for a scintillating read.”
The official definition of puckbunny in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary is “a young female hockey fan, especially one motivated more by a desire to meet the players than by an interest in hockey.” Less formal definitions classify it as women motivated by a sexual attraction to players more than the sport itself. Now, I will admit that my criteria for picking the winners of the Stanley Cup playoffs depends a great deal on what I like to call the hot factor. And yes, I did literally stop for a split second on the concourse at the Memorial Coliseum when I saw Anze Kopitar walking among the peons (his brother used to play here). But all kidding aside, in reality I go to the game for the same reason men do: because I love the game. Plain and simple. In my case, I’m also there to learn. Besides, if I showed up at the rink for the sole purpose of snagging a player, it would be sad affair of unrequited attraction that would end in tragedy and despair. Because I’m pretty sure 40-something women who wear large sweaters, rain boots and flannel lined jeans to stay warm and who think barbecue nachos are a food group are pretty much out of the player girlfriend picture.
There’s got to be a better way: To help my fellow fans learn from the wisdom of my violent impulses, I have devised a system for penalizing unruly fans in and out of the rink:
1) Cheap verbal shots taken for the sole purpose of goading another fan into a fight because you’re bored during intermission: two minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Match penalty and supplemental discipline if this person is a senior citizen or a child.
2) To throw or not to throw, that is the question: Picking up a hat thrown towards the ice after a hat trick and instead of ensuring that it makes it to the ice, looking at it like you might keep it: 5 minute major for being a cheapskate and an idiot, during which time you will be forced to read an instruction manual for fans who sit closer to the ice that explains their unspoken obligation to send the hat to its intended destination. If you do decide to keep the hat: automatic game misconduct and possible supplemental discipline after security camera video review of said fan examining the hat and weighing his or her options.
3) Eating peanuts and leaving the shells in a pile around your feet that other people have to wade through on the way out, and carelessly and thoughtlessly throwing shells into the hair or onto the clothing, shoes or lap of people sitting next to you. This rule also applies to spilled popcorn, beer and nachos: 2 minute minor if said individual quickly realizes their mistake, apologizes and doesn’t do it again. The 2 minute minor also applies if they turn to you and say “I’ll try not to spill any on you.” 5 minute major if they continue doing it until you have to point out the error of their ways to them. 10 minute misconduct if you tell them to stop and they keep doing it anyway.
4) Allowing your small, poorly behaved, undisciplined children shove, punch or push grown adults in the line in front of them while you check the out of town scores on your mobile device: match penalty and possible review by a disciplinary committee for supplemental discipline if the parent has clearly made no attempt to curtail said behavior and remove said child from the rink immediately. If popcorn throwing is involved: automatic game misconduct with a minimum one game suspension. And no purchasing of snacks by said parental units is permitted for a minimum of three games upon their return to the rink.
5) Using chat rooms, Twitter, Facebook or any other form of online media to unleash insulting and/or inappropriate comments towards fans, bloggers, your team or its organization, to hit on any NHL team’s ice girls, or give GMs and coaches (who, by the way, aren’t listening to you) the business about what you really think of that game on Saturday: match penalty. No exceptions.
Parting shots: So, let’s review what we’ve learned from today’s lesson:
1) My name isn’t Bunny.
2) I hereby declare that “girl writing” is now an official term that is used to define a top secret encrypted code that we will never share with guys. Not even if you get in our personal bubbles and ask us.
3) I’m not a puckbunny. I don’t write like a girl. But readers are free to make fun of me for the same reason that Mick Kern poked fun at me: I’m a fan of Anaheim and L.A. That was fair, since it’s part of the unspoken code of hockey that you don’t like L.A. and Anaheim. Or the Flyers and the Pens. What can I say? It’s not my fault Jonas Hiller and Anze Kopitar are on two different teams.
Shout out to Portland: Several of the above ideas were inspired by my fellow nerds over in Dylan’s chat room. This one’s for you. I hope you liked it.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass