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The Hockey Fan

from Will Leitch of Sports On Earth,

Tuesday night, I went to the Montreal Canadiens-New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden with Sports On Earth hockey writer Joe DeLessio and I was reminded once again how hockey fans are the greatest fans in the world. There is no such thing as a casual hockey fan. When you go to a baseball game, or a football game, or (especially) an NBA game, you will always find people only sort of keeping one eye on the game, checking their phones, there for conversation or social engagement rather than the game itself. There's nothing wrong with this, of course: Everybody who pays to get in can pass the time at the game however they'd like.

But you don't see this at hockey games. Hockey fans are into it, across the board, screaming and chanting ("Potvin sucks," still!) and stomping and going nuts, essentially for 2 ½ hours straight. Everyone's wearing a hockey sweater -- and it was a little crazy how many different names I saw on the back of Rangers fans' jerseys. Everybody at a Knicks game has Carmelo on their back, but I counted at least 35 different names on the back of jerseys in my section alone -- everyone's intense and everyone knows everything about everyone on the ice. It's like a massive family of people glaring in one direction.

Hockey fans are just so dorky, and I say that with nothing but respect: As a sports fan, I consider it the ultimate compliment. There is no posing, no ulterior motive, no nothing other than obsession with the game itself.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Guilherme's avatar

Just saw it on SoE and checked in here before I emailed you about it, Paul

Especially loved this part: This is why discussions of whether hockey can “break through,” whether it’s a “mainstream” sport, are completely beside the point. Hockey fans could care less whether or not you accept their sport, whether you think it worthy of coverage, whether it won its time slot in the Nielsen ratings. You are a mere visitor to their lands. If you enjoy the game, that’s great, but if not, they don’t need you. This will always be their game.

And I wont’ spoil the last paragraph, a real beauty. Check it out, people.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 02/21/13 at 01:16 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

^^^ and THIS is why Bettman’s “grow the game” strategy has been a failure. Hockey isn’t really for the masses as such. It’s a niche sport, but a rabidly intense niche fan follows it.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/21/13 at 02:19 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

You know how I know this article is true? I emailed it to my coworkers who aren’t hockey fans, and they went ballistic.

Struck a nerve.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 02/21/13 at 06:22 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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