As a girl who plays hockey, I LOVE any fan who’s willing to be respectful, regardless of gender.
I love the wives, husband, kids, and friends who bundle up at ridiculous hours of the night to watch our beer league games.
I love the fans who’ve just started watching hockey and may not know all the rules, but are having fun cheering for something.
I love the old timer fans who remember when St Patrick was just a baby goalie, or remember the days when helmets weren’t required.
I love the fans who watch hockey for the booty, because let’s be honest, hockey booty is awesome.
I love the fans who bleed their team colors and the fans who cheer for a player regardless of their team.
I love the fans who scrimp and save to buy a single ticket or piece of merchandise, and I love the fans who buy rink side seats to every game and own all the merchandise.
There’s one type of fan I hate though; I hate the fans who think they have any right to say who can or can’t be a fan. No one has that right, not even the players, coaches, GMs, or owners. That fan you’re invalidating, maybe they start to play later in life, maybe their kid is the next big hockey star, maybe they better their life through hockey, or maybe it’s just an escape from the monotony of the real world. That’s no one’s businesses but their own and we should be growing the sport not turning people away and deciding who’s “worthy.”
If you feel the need to dictate who can be a fan, perhaps you need to take a good look at the areas in your life that are unfulfilled, or that you’re unsatisfied with, that make you feel the need to put others down to feel better about yourself.
As for me, I’m going to keep loving and rejoicing in the amazing, diverse group of people that are hockey fans, even if I don’t cheer for their team.