Rabid Habs

What Makes One A ‘True’ Hockey Fan?

Habs and Leafs fans

Hockey fans come in many different forms. You have the hockey fans who watch the games at home or at a local restaurant/bar, you have the hockey fans who go to every home game, you have the hockey fans who not only watch the game but collect anything with a team logo on it, you have the hockey fans who study the game and study each player/team, you have the hockey fans who go to every single game and obsess over only one team, you have the hockey fans who yell at you for loving a certain team, you have the hockey fans who love you because you love hockey too, and then you just have your general hockey fans who just watch the game and barely say a word. However, there’s always the constant debate on what makes someone a ‘true’ hockey fan. We’ve all at some point been a part of this debate. We get yelled at, we get told we’re not ‘real’ fans because perhaps we dissed a player on our favourite team over Twitter because we were mad, or maybe another fan told us that we’re not allowed to like two different teams but be committed to one because it’s almost like infidelity. There are many theories to what makes someone an actual fan, whether you use the words ‘true’ or ‘real,’ so I took it upon myself to find the answers on what makes someone a ‘real’ hockey fan by asking fans on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular outlets for hockey fans to be outspoken. Let’s look at the Facebook responses first:

Kristi Heiman “A true hockey fan remains loyal through times of success, challenges and respects the opinions of other enthusiasts, regardless of what teams they follow.”

Tim Burton – “Hating on Leaf and Sens fans and them hating on us Habs fans, but all of us coming together to cheer Canada on to gold on the international stage!”

Now it’s time to take a look at the Twitter responses:

Now, all of those answers are nor right or wrong because they’re all opinions on what some fans feel it takes to be a ‘true’ hockey fan. Here’s my opinion on what makes a hockey fan an actual fan:

“A hockey fan loves hockey, it’s that simple, even when they’re not rooting for their team. Hockey for some is a real passion, an addiction if you will. Sometimes even the biggest fans become the hockey players we grow to love. To me, hockey is coming together to watch something beautiful happen on a giant patch of ice in a cold arena. Hockey is busting out your skates and getting your shinny on during the holiday break. Hockey is standing together through the good times and through the times that are hard to pull through. Hockey is getting mad at your team and throwing your jersey on the ground while crying uncontrollably. Hockey is screaming with joy and kissing your jersey when your team wins. Hockey is hearing your team’s entrance song or hearing the national anthem and tearing up with happiness. Hockey is being able to say you can appreciate the way a player plays, even if he’s not on your team. Hockey is wrapping your arm around your friend and watching your favourite team play theirs. Hockey is hugging another fan and congratulating them on their team’s win, even if they’re your team’s rival. Hockey is being friends with someone who isn’t a fan of your team. Hockey is bringing people together for a night of peace where for a couple of hours we all sit and cheer and smile and laugh and boo and become friends. So, what makes a hockey fan a ‘real’ and ‘true’ hockey fan? It’s loving the sport even when you can sometimes hate the hell out of it. A ‘true’ hockey fan is in a committed relationship with hockey until they bite the dust. It’s true love.”

I’m not going to lie to any of you reading this, this was one of the most difficult articles I have ever written. When it comes to hockey, the sport is an emotional (and sometimes physical) attachment to some people. There are the fans who believe that making fun of the other team is what makes you a ‘real’ fan. Some may say that loving your team unconditionally is what makes you a ‘true’ fan. However, when it comes to the question, “What makes one a ‘true’ hockey fan?,” there is no real answer. There is no set definition of what a ‘true’ hockey fan is, simply because the definition comes from what the fans feel and think it is. Whether you believe you’re a ‘real’ fan because you appreciate the entire NHL as a whole, or because you’re extremely dedicated to one club, the so called ‘rules’ are never really set in stone.

Now, hockey fans, I’m not going to ask you to change your opinions or change how you feel about hockey, but for the new year, I challenge you all to do just one thing: do something different. Whether it’s hugging a Boston Bruins fan after a match with the Montreal Canadiens, congratulating a fan on Twitter or Facebook for their team winning, admitting that another team did extremely well, watch a hockey game that doesn’t include your team playing, be there for a fan when they’re down in the dumps; If all of us fans could take one day to pass on a good deed to another fan, I think we could make this year more positive than the last.

Just think about it.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures