7 Ways to Become a Hockey Fan

Definition of a Hockey Fan

There are many definitions of what a Hockey Fan is.   Here are some common definitions:

Hockey Fan – someone who lives and breathes hockey. This could be someone who watches, plays, coaches, officiates or talks about the act of playing hockey.

Hockey Fan – one who enjoys watching the sport of hockey. Or one who supports a certain hockey franchise whether it is a local community team a National Hockey League team or regional team in their town.

Hockey Fan – a person who experiences a combination of euphoria and stress while watching, playing, coaching or participating in hockey.

Hockey Fan – a person who loves all different types of hockey.

Hockey Fan – a child that collects hockey cards.

Hockey Fan – A person that identifies strongly with a favorite team, and as a result will respond to the performance of that team as if team success were a personal success and team failure a personal failure of that individual.

However the true definition of a hockey fan is this:

Hockey Fan – someone who is passionate about the game of hockey.  The word, “fan” is derived from and is an abbreviation of the word fanatic, meaning “crazy” or “insane.”  A hockey fan is someone that is “crazy” about the sport of hockey.

So how does one become a hockey fan?  Chances are that if you are Canadian (like me) you may just be born with it.  In reality there are a number of ways to become a dedicated and loyal hockey fan.  Hockey Fanatic Logo

7 Ways to Become a Hockey Fan

So let us suggest for one second that you have just discovered the game of hockey and are interested in becoming a fan of the game.  How does one become a true hockey fan?  For a number of self-proclaimed hockey fans, being a hockey fan is a result of geographic proximity to a hockey team.  Whether you live in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, Magnitogorsk, Russia, Warroad, Minnesota, USA or Grande Cache, Alberta, Canada, hockey fans (and players) come in all shapes and sizes.  However if you have only recently discovered the beautiful, speedy and amazing game of hockey then here are some ways that you too can become a consummate hockey fan.

    1. Go to an actual hockey game –  See for yourself what excites millions of fans across the world.  Your first hockey game, will be an amazing experience whether you are sitting close up by the players and near ice level or whether you are sitting up high in the seats, you will learn to love the speed and intensity of the game.
    2. Read a book about hockey – there are a number of great books about the gamer of hockey.  I would personally recommend Ken Dryden’s “The Game” widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey.  There are a ton of great hockey books that have been produced over the years (stay tuned for an upcoming post about the all-time best hockey books).Amazon’s review of The Game: An enduring classic, Ken Dryden’s The Game has lost none of its luster since its original publication in 1983, and remains the one book every hockey fan must know. Imagine writing that combines the locker-room perspectives of Ball Four and the philosophical musings of both Bill and William James and you have some idea of the scope of The Game. AThe Game - Ken Drydent the height of his Hall of Fame career, goalie Dryden took a year off from the Montreal Canadiens to article for a law firm, and the sabbatical deepened his appreciation for hockey. The Game is funny, acutely observed, and full of insight into human nature and the importance of sport in today’s society. Dryden’s portraits of his teammates are precise and unforgettable. Catching the balance between banter and seriousness, Dryden describes Scotty Bowman’s pep talks; Serge Savard motivating teammates; the river skater Lafleur, in uniform hours early, reappearing and startling everyone into focus with a whack of his stick on the table; Larry Robinson sensing the wrong atmosphere before a game against a weak opponent and resetting the stakes with the unanswerable remark, “Gotta play it–might as well win it.”Dryden also offers the best analysis anywhere of the contentious and eternally unresolved debate on violence in sport. Drawing on well-documented research he disproves the “violence as release” metaphor favored by hockey traditionalists, showing that violence is in fact a learned response and that deliberate abuse of the rules and constant retaliation only leads to more of the same, until the game deteriorates and the sport loses its best qualities. This backstage look at one of hockey’s greatest teams remains one of the best books ever published on any sport. –David Gowdey –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
    3. Follow a local team – if you are lucky enough to live in a town or city that has a professional or semi-professional hockey team whether it could be in the NHL, KHL, AHL, ECHL, WHL, OHL, QMJHL, BCJHL or other jurisdiction.   There’s no better place to start that supporting your local hockey team.  From there you may develop a passion for the team or you may want to cheer for teams in other leagues.  My favorite NHL team since I was a boy has been the Edmonton Oilers, yet I am still a fan of other teams as well including the Swift Current Broncos and my hometown team, the Kelowna Rockets.
    4. Watch some games on TV – the National Hockey League (NHL) starts it regular season in October and goes through early April before the Stanley Cup Playoffs start.  The Stanley Cup is usually awarded in early June.  You can learn a lot about watching games on TV where you will see powerplays, penalty kills, overtime and possibly a shoot-out.  You can learn about key concepts of the game such as offsides, icings and line matching.
    5. Study hockey stats – from team stats to individuals players.  Research historical data on the game.  Which teams played for the Stanley Cup in each of the past five seasons?  Which teams have won the most Stanley Cups in league history (Montreal Canadiens), which teams have never won a championship etc.  There is a lot of historical data to review.
    6. Learn the rules of hockey – there are a number of unique rules in hockey such as an Icing, Off-sides, Roughing, Boarding, High Sticking, Slashing, etc. Learning about the new rules such as the 3-on-3 Overtime rule can go a long way in understanding the game and how it works.  If you like the NHL has also posted versions of their rulebook online.
    7. Meet other people who are hockey fans – there are meetups and forums all over the place.  Hang out with people who enjoy hockey as they can explain certain aspects of the game that you may understand.  Join a hockey pool.  Go to games with people, if you are of legal age, go to a sports bar and watch the big game.  Hanging out with other hockey fans is a great experience where you can share information and establish a passion for the great game of hockey.

Being a hockey fan can be an intense experience. However the great thing about it is that you can make it as intense or as mellow as you like. Hockey is the greatest sport on Earth. There are many variations to the game and men women, boys and girls can play, officiate and even coach hockey. If that’s not enough you can practically watch a hockey game on any given night form October through June so there is no shortage of hockey to take it. At the end of the day being a hockey fan is what you make it. It can be frustrating, fun, exciting and trying all in the same game. Take in a few games and see what you think. It’s time to drop the puck. Enjoy some hockey today!