For the true hockey fan who takes the game seriously and is passionate about the sport and their team of choice, the job of being a hockey fan has both ups and downs. When your team is performing well it is great time to be a fan, but when your team struggles, well it gets tough some times. Being a hockey fan means different things to different people:
- are you a fan because your son or daughter plays hockey?
- are you a fan because your father or brother or sister played?
- are you a hockey fan simply because you enjoy watching the game?
- are you a hockey fan because you love to play the game?
- are you a fan because hockey is new and exciting to you?
- are you a fan because there is an NHL team in your town?
- are you a hockey fan because of the great history of the game?
- are you a hockey fan for a combination of any/all of the above?
I love the game of hockey for so many reasons. I played the game, I was a referee, I have friends that played in the NHL, I love the classic games, I love the history of the game, I love the speed, I love the skill required to play, I love watching the best players in the world play, I love seeing the up and coming stars, I love seeing players play for their country, I love the intensity, I love the complexity of the rules, I love reading about hockey. I love a lot of things about the greatest game on ice.
As a kid I loved collecting hockey cards of my favorite players and team. I grew up a fan of the Edmonton Oilers and I remain a fan today. I love the dynasty teams of the 70’s and 80’s. I love the Canada/Russia 1972 super series. As a hockey fan, there is nothing better than when your team wins a game against a heated rival or wins the Holy Grail itself, the Stanley Cup. As a kid there were 21 NHL teams and a third of the league consisted of Canadian teams. Canadian teams were winning the Cup. It was good to be a hockey fan.
Enter the 90’s
As the new millennium approached, hockey had changed dramatically. The nineties saw some changes that impacted hockey fans in various manners. From hockey card collecting to being able to watch your favorite team on TV, being a hockey fan meant changing with the game. There were a number of items that happened that changed the game of hockey in the 90’s.
20 Things That Changed in Hockey That have had a Direct Impact on Being a Hockey Fan
- NHL Expansion – the league went from having 21 team to have 30 teams within a dozen years. The end result was the watering down of the talent pool.
- Parity – with more teams comes parity. Today’s game sees nearly every team having a chance to win on any given night. I used to enjoy teams “blowing out” other teams on a regular basis.
- Hockey Cards becoming a business – the 90’s saw hockey card collecting become big business. Have you bought a pack of hockey cards lately? It can run as much as $5 per pack. How do you expect a kid to collect a set of hockey cards in this day and age? Thanks Upper Deck.
- A Lack of Canadian teams winning the Stanley Cup – The last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. Since then the Flames, Oilers, Senators and Canucks (twice) have made the Cup finals. The Flames, Oilers and Canucks (twice) all lost in game sevens. Can you say conspiracy?
- Sports Networks – thanks to the various sports networks such as TSN, RDS and SportsNet in Canada, hockey coverage is at a max. Does anyone remember when there was a single game broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night?
- The Internet – the world’s information superhighway opened up access to stats, video, and hockey information like never before.
- The business of hockey – millionaire players and billionaire owners. The business of hockey has had a profound impact on the hockey fan.
- No more bubbglegum in packs of hockey cards – again thanks Upper Deck.
- The NHL becoming a melting pot – with increasing numbers of European and US-born hockey players, fans from around the world were treated to watching talent from all areas of the globe.
- The Trap – the no goal era or dead puck era of the mid-nineties sure challenged being a hockey fan.
- Bloggers – while we used to get our hockey fix from The Hockey News, the numerous hockey bloggers out there make it fun for fans and players alike.
- Twitter – who knew how much impact 140 characters could have. Thanks biznasty.
- Cost of Playing Hockey – for all of the parents out there who are hockey fans, we know just how expensive it can be to get your child into organized hockey… and that is just too bad, because everyone should have the opportunity to play.
- The size of the players – compare the average size of a player from the eighties to today’s players. There is definitely something in the water.
- The KHL – the Russian superleague made it fun for European hockey fans.
- Violence in the game – hockey has become a dangerous sport. The speed, intensity and size of players make it a true “war-zone”.
- Concussions – some of the greatest players in the game are missing large amounts of action due to concussions. As a result the fans miss out on seeing some of the games greatest players play the game we all love.
- High Cost of Attending Hockey Games – millionaire players, billionaire owners, and I have to pay $9 for a hotdog? ‘Nuff said.
- Supply and Demand – 82 regular season games plus playoffs. Hockey season runs from October to June. Hockey fans need time off too.
- Lack of Respect – there still seems to be a lack of respect between players and sometimes officials and coaching staff. Hockey fans see this and it takes away from the fun element of the game.
Hockey has changed no question. However it is still great being a hockey fan. Maybe some of us take our jobs as fans too seriously, but that is part of the fun. After all fan is short for fanatic which as true hockey fans we all have the distinction of being. Whatever the reasons are for why you love hockey, it is great to have you on board.
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