Hockey fanatics explained

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Hockey fans have been dormant through the summer months, patiently waiting for the first sign of action on the ice.

Every die-hard fan eagerly speculates which new or familiar player will be on their team. The rookies, the free-agent signings, the grinders and muckers and your franchise players. How are we looking this year? Always hopeful! Let’s see if we can best describe some typical fanatics out there.

First, we have the type who was born into a team. They were raised knowing who they will cheer for. The father usually ensures that their child will make the “right choice.” These fans are pretty good magicians as well, disappearing when their team gets knocked out of the postseason. The typical term for this species is “Habs fan”. They do have the right to brag that their team has won the most Stanley Cups. At 24 championships, it’s a number that will not likely be reached by another team in our lifetime – even if it may be decades before they win #25.

We have the “hopeless fans”. These fans cheer for a team that has never won a championship, at least not in their lifetime. They always “believe” that one day they will win. There are several teams like this, but typically we call these people “Leafs fans

We also have the “bandwagon fans,” those who easily give up on their chosen teams and claim they’ve been cheering for the Cup-winning team since birth. We can also call these “ex-Leaf or Sens fans”! Can’t blame them.

Then we have the “angry fan,” who will fight – usually on social media, sometimes in person – to defend his or her team. This creature believes their team is the toughest in the league. This most often applies to Bruins fans (and yes, I am a Bruins fan and I have participated in anger-management therapy).

Of course, we have the “new fans”. They are mostly younger folk who cheer for the team of recently drafted, highly touted, highly ranked players. They know the statistics of almost every star player in major junior hockey.

But none of these fans will ever compare to the Blackhawks fan, the ultimate die-hard. One Hawks fan I know never failed to believe, year after year, that his team would win the Cup. “This is the year,” he would say every October.

Then, one season, his “hope” reached a boiling point. Dressed in his usual top-to-bottom Blackhawks attire, he was watching his team face elimination in the playoffs. By the end of the night, he was again disappointed. Frustrated, he ripped every piece of clothing off his body, grabbed everything in his house that resembled a Hawks logo, threw it all in the fireplace and burned it all!

His wife came downstairs to see what was going on and could not believe her husband was standing there in his “birthday suit” watching the flames. Only the true fan will understand the madness behind this.

Then, his Blackhawks bling depleted, and his hopes exhausted, this fan would watch his team win three Stanley Cup championships in the space of only six years – 2010, 2013 and 2015. It was the ultimate sacrifice, and perhaps the hockey gods were listening.

Fans make hockey what it is, a passion. Each fan cannot be duplicated; we are all unique. We are so passionate that best friends won’t talk during the playoffs. Birds will be flipped. Wives will tip-toe around the house during the game. Once the smoke settles and a winner emerges, we all come out of our caves and reacquaint ourselves with reality and catch up with friends and family.

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