The NHL, Its Fans, and Social Media

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I‘m sure, at one point, we’ve all gone through nights where our favorite team was on the losing end of a close yet poorly played game by that team. You then go to check “Hockey Twitter”, and see a lot of the frustration and disappointment from your fellow fans, but at the same time you also see mixed opinions and responses.

Hockey’s a sport driven by fans. Hell, this League is driven by fans, no matter how much Gary Bettman and company always find ways to piss us off. It’s common to see a whole bunch of opinions from all of us. We’re all entitled to our own. We all love the game.

However, there comes a point where you kind of see a split between fan bases, and even in a lot of fan bases. More times than not, you’ve probably seen one fan call another some sort of derogatory name or insert some negative and hateful comment to another. Let’s just say it usually ends with either just an unfollow or a block.

Immediately, what comes up in my mind in these situations is the question, what is a fan? And to add to that, what does it take to become a “real fan”? A friend of mine from another blog, Pucknology, wrote an editorial on the San Jose Sharks’ version of this issue a while back, but I’m going to take that perspective and widen it up to some points we can all mostly relate to.

Here’s what I’ve noticed thus far:

1) Know your hockey.

By this, I obviously mean you have to know the rules to the game, and some history of the League (at the very least the Original Six teams). If you don’t know jack squat about hockey, how are you going to expect yourself to really defend yourself for not being called out for being a “fake” or “bandwagon” fan? This is a must.

2) Everyone’s a GM/Coach.

We all have watched some sort of hockey analysis show, whether it be NHL Tonight if you’re in the U.S. or Hockey Night in Canada. You’ve also most likely read up on a lot of team analysis, at the very least for your own team. Like I stated earlier, everyone has their own opinions. BUT, there are limits. Tweet a joke of a trade suggestion and you’ll have people trying to run you out of the country. Tweet a good, reasonable suggestion (though the word “reasonable” evidently varies from person to person) and you’ll be rewarded with praise, whether it be retweets, likes, or replies in agreement. This is obviously common sense. But because of all the varying opinions from every fan base in Hockey Twitter, you’re bound to get a mix of both backlash and praise. Then there are the few who separate themselves from the madness that is Hockey Twitter and don’t give their opinions on how such and such team or player did because they hate being a GM. In the end it’s all just a game we love to watch. In the good times and even the bad, we all stick to our respective teams.

3) Pick Your Team and Be Loyal to Them

Speaking of sticking to your teams, that is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects about Hockey Twitter. Here and there, you’re bound to see someone who’s a self-proclaimed fan of maybe three teams, for example the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders. That’s a big no-no, as all three are HUGE, huge rivals of each other. Any other multi-team fan-ing is also mostly illegal. So, it’d be very wise to just pick one team and be loyal to them.

In the end…

Guys, it’s hockey. It’s a sport we all love. I get that there are certain fan bases that hate, and even despise, each other due to the rivalries that exist, but sometimes I just find myself keeping quiet for a reason. People are so damn judgmental on what others think and, to tell you the truth, it drives me insane. Almost everyone loves being a GM, and that’s fine. We love analyze the games, teams, and players. But, please, for the love of the Hockey Gods and all that is Holy in the hockey world, keep the derogatory comments at a minimum.

If people were a lot more welcoming and offered much more construction criticism instead of just outright literally bashing others through a damn computer/phone screen, the Internet hockey world would be a much better place.

Everyone’s a fan who loves watching the games, either on their TVs or live at the arenas, and cheering on their favorite teams. There’s no right or wrong in that. The only wrong would be all the negative comments — I’m not going to say them here — being thrown around each and God forsaken night. Thus, to end this article, AJ Strong if you’re reading this, I wholeheartedly agree with you whether it’d be being a Sharks fan or in my case just being an NHL fan. In the end, there’s really no life or death. It’s just a game.

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