from Adriana.Sinishtaj of OutSports,
My earliest life memory is the 1997 Stanley Cup parade.
I’m a “legacy” hockey fan. My parents came to Detroit as kids. My dad went all-in on sports, and my mom was all-in on Red Wings player Steve Yzerman. It was fate that they met and passed their passion for hockey down to their six kids.
I loved watching my brothers play street hockey, seeing Joe Kocur at my uncle’s restaurant on off days, attending Detroit Vipers IHL games, and admiring our family’s growing collection of memorabilia.
As a young girl unaware of her queerness, the draw was the action and passion, but traditional hockey culture made it hard to foster my love of the game.
Overemphasis on metrics, blunt dismissal of newer or uninformed fans, female fans almost being required to “prove” their fandom, and outright disdain for anyone deemed “other” – It all sapped my enjoyment of the great game.
Despite Detroit being firmly in dynasty territory at the time, my love and interest evaporated around age 10. It was clear that I didn’t belong and my perspective wasn’t valuable. If I didn’t know everything there was to know, I might as well kick rocks.
So I did.
It's an unfortunate response that seems especially common in hockey for some reason. And then if people know their players, numbers, teams, there will still be fans who then dismiss them by saying, "Yeah but you never PLAYED hockey."
Not everyone was lucky enough to grow up in a community that had hockey available to them. Not everyone was lucky enough to grow up in a family that could afford a very expensive sport. Does that make them less of a fan? Nope. Not at all.
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