Hockey fans, can you feel it? The excitement is building for the new season. You can sense it creeping up on you now that we’ve seen the brand new sparkly 2013-14 NHL schedule. Admit it! The moment the temps hit the high 90’s everyone was asking “Is it October yet?” Most fans are bored with the slow summer months and can’t wait to see a hockey game in an ice cold rink once again. To keep your anxiety lowered, I highly recommend following the remainder of the summer’s hockey trade and signings shenanigans. It will amuse and delight you to no end.
And to take your mind off of the long-drawn-out interminable wait for the AHL schedule release, here are a few fan tips for the coming season.
Fan tips — The Do’s and Don’ts:
- Tickets: If you can at all afford it, buy Season Tickets, or even a partial package. There is nothing better than having season tickets for your favorite team — and a seat to call your very own.
- Game Attire: Wear that treasured hockey jersey and enjoy every second of it! At NHL games most fans wear their team’s jersey — for instance if you are a local Washington Capitals fan, you always wear the RED jersey. Rock the Red! Flaunt it! At AHL games for the most part you see the home team jerseys, but there are many jersey collectors out there among us who will wear whatever strikes their fancy that night. A Dynamo Moscow jersey in OKC? You bet! (Yes, that was me!)
- Heckling: If you are going to heckle, please — PLEASE — be creative about it. Simply yelling out “Sieve” just doesn’t do it anymore. Get creative! Be humorous and clever! If you need help with this crucial aspect of being a hockey fan read goaltender Bobby Geopfert’s clever Twog on his experiences with heckling. He talks about heckling he has experienced over his career and closes with this advice to fans:
“Don’t stop heckling. It really adds to the atmosphere of the game and the nature of the position. Obviously there are boundaries to all things, but from my experience, as passionate as hockey fans are, they know the boundaries of good taste and not cross over that line. But keep doing it. It wasn’t easy for the rest of us to deal with it, so the future goalies of the world shouldn’t have it any easier. In the end, who knows, maybe years from now, your chant or heckle will be twogged about by an aging goalie, as he smiles and laughs remembering it, shaking his head thinking to himself, “Good one…””
Giveaway Nights: For games with great giveaways, be it a bobblehead or t-shirt or jersey, arrive early before they run out! Snooze you lose!
Mascots: If the Barons mascots Derrick and Bit are around, pose for a photo with them. You gotta do it! Why not embrace the kid in you and just take a photo. However, please remember to not block fan’s views while the puck is in play. That’s a very BIG Don’t. Do Not Do That.
Kiss-Cam: Fans love the Kiss-Cam. Yeah, yeah, it’s silly, but admit it. You secretly love it. If you find yourself on the Kiss-Cam and don’t want to kiss the person next to you, toss a kiss to the camera! Enjoy it. Fans will love it.
Hat Tricks: The moment a player scores three goals in one game, the fans, still cheering and wide-eyed, toss their hats onto the ice! It’s a simple matter. Remove your hat and toss it, with a good flick of the wrist, to get it well over the glass. It is one of hockey’s most revered traditions, celebrating the skill and performance of one of your team’s players. New fans to the game should be aware of this longstanding and time-honored tradition. Don’t mess this up! To read more about the history of this tradition head to Hockey Etiquette 101: Hat Tricks & Teddy Bears.
Sunday Post Game Skates: Attend the Sunday Post Game Skates with the team! It is great fun for fans of all ages – and what a joy to watch the players skating around with the kids and their own small children. The players are always amenable to autographs and photographs — but don’t be a leech. Let everyone have a chance to chat with their favorite players! (And guys, don’t do that herd thing over by the bench — you look scared and desperate. Most of these fans are harmless. I swear!)
Puck in Play Rule: Do not stand while the puck is in play, or try to enter your section, blocking any views. You will get yelled at very loudly. Seriously. Fans will yell at people who block their view! Fans pay their hard-earned money for good seats and do not appreciate being interrupted just as their team is about to score a goal in the last 5 seconds of a period! Hockey is serious business folks! Don’t forget that!
Yelling “shoot” — stop that. Yelling “shoot” is only permissible when your team has lost their marbles and continue to pass the puck back and forth for EVER and a DAY and the CLOCK is running OUT!
Saying “Shutout” — Eeeeck! Yes, yes, this is all superstition but … it’s true! If your team is winning, for example 3 to 0 … do not EVER say “Oh, this is great, we’re going to get a shutout!” or “Wow, our goalie is going to shutout that rascally Texas team once again!” You will JINX your team. You will! (Okay, let me put it this way — you will highly irritate other fans who do not like to take the chance that it will jinx their team!) Let me tell you a little story from this last season’s playoffs. A girl (who had been drinking VERY heavily on $2 beer night — see below) was seated behind my section and she laughingly said “Oh Danis’s going to have a shutout!” You could hear a pin drop as everyone turned around to stare at her. Needless to say she did not believe us when we told her to “Shut it about the S-thing!” She laughed. She scoffed and made great drunken fun of us and before the laughter had left her lips, guess what happened. Can you guess? Yes? Yes. It happened. Danis no longer had a shutout. That poor girl probably still dreams about the night she LOST the perfect record for the Barons and Danis.
$2 Beer & $1 Hotdog Night: I couldn’t decide whether to put this in the Do or the Don’t list. By all means, DO enjoy the cheap Beer and Hotdog night at hockey games! If it gets more folks in the door, then swell, and the $1 hotdogs are a great bargain! Personally, I generally don’t drink at hockey games since my primary objective is to keep my eyes on the puck and watch the game on the ice, but hey, enjoy it. However, do NOT Spill your cheap beer on your neighbor. And be warned — drunken behavior will get you kicked out of game faster than you can yell “Shoot! A Shutout!”
Flying Pucks: Read Hockey Etiquette 101: Pucks & Shorts for full details, but the most import gist of this rule is “If it hits someone else, THEY own it.” Those are the rules! Live with it. If you are lucky, someday you will be hit and then the puck will be yours!
Enjoy the 2013-14 Hockey Season!
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