Sports fans are a special breed of people. They have an emotional attachment to games that usually pit one town versus another. They wear special colors that match their team’s, chant original cheers and jeers, and they celebrate the team’s wins with fellow fans that dawn the same special colors. It’s a culture. When their favorite season rolls around, they become different people. Their schedules become filled with game day duties and their wardrobe seemingly shrinks to only include the team’s colors. That favorite time of the year has come for hockey fans. It’s mid-September and the beloved boys of the rink are headed to Training Camp. A new campaign begins in a mere three weeks. What surprises will it hold? Will the history books be rewritten? Which major Offseason moves will pay off? Hockey fans anxiously wait to find answers. In the lead-up to the regular season, thousands of jerseys will be washed, millions of hats will be pulled out of closets, and hundreds of thousands of shirts will be worn for the first time in months. Hockey fans can let their fan out once again.
I’m here to ask that you, a hockey fan, take that next step from being a fan to a true diehard. On my university campus, everyone knows me as “that guy who wears a jersey every game day.” I’m the one who wears a team hat almost every time I go outside. My socks bleed my team’s colors because I want to support them in any way that I can. Yet it doesn’t stop there, I’m that guy that brings props to the arena and stands up when it’s clutch time. Getting on the jumbotron is a normal experience. I’m featured on my team’s website and I’ve been included in a TV ad campaign. I go all out because I love my team and it’s fun to get wild. I strive to be more than just a fan. I want to feel like part of the team. Players say it themselves: passionate fans make them push that much harder for a victory.
Look at these past playoffs. An eighth seed used its raucous fanbase to power its way past three tough rivals and into its first Stanley Cup Final. That group in Nashville made a name for themselves and the hockey world fell in love with their passion. A loud arena with original traditions and a town painted entirely in yellow. From jerseys and banners to catfish and a downtown completely shut down. They are the best example of the difference between a fan and a true blue diehard. They took that next step, will you?
I ask of you fellow hockey fan: get louder, wear the team colors often and everywhere, and stick with your team during the good and the bad. Sports are a form of entertainment, but it also acts as a competition for bragging rights and glory. Be that guy, or girl, or student, or boss, or random person on the street that makes people think, “Wow. They really love their hockey team.”
(Note: Picture is not me)