When it comes to fandom, ice hockey fans are some of the most passionate on the planet. And with celeb fans such as Rod Stewart getting in on the action, British ice hockey could be about to enjoy a purple patch of supporter-base growth. Fingers crossed, right?
But for those of us who already live, eat, and breathe ice hockey, just how far would we be willing to take our love of all things hockey? While we don’t have all that much merch available here in the UK, our cousins across the pond in North America are spoilt for choice. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at what the average ice hockey super fan’s day might look like if he or she went all out.
Yup, it starts from the moment you’re woken up by your goal-light alarm clock. You pull back your team-branded duvet, jump out of bed and draw your NHL curtains. Grab your fave jersey, pull on your NHL trainers, and head downstairs for breakfast. Oh and don’t forget to turn off your NHL bedside lamp – energy conservation and all that.
At the table you tuck into a bowl of Honey nut Ovi-Os (Alex Ovechkin’s cereal) before enjoying a hot steaming cup of coffee in your team mug. It’s a weekend and there’s a game this evening so you’re not going anywhere yet.
You spend the rest of the morning sorting through your trading cards and picking your fantasy team before the first of the weekend’s games get underway. It’s a tough job because there are some potential comebacks in the offing, but you stick to your tried and trusted team selection for the 3rd week running.
You’re nervous about the game tonight and can’t eat more than a bite for lunch so you jump online to try and take your mind off your team’s current injury list. And so you open your favorite ice hockey-themed video slot ‘Ice Hockey Hero’. Look, you’re trying to get your mind off the game tonight but you’re only human, right?
You can play this particular game at most of the biggest online slot providers so it’s not too difficult to find. And luckily for you, there are quite a few websites that offer free spins with no need for you to spend any cash. Bonus!
After you relax your jitters enough to think about the game, it’s time to watch some pre-game build-up on NHL TV. You have a season pass, of course. You watch the interviews, correct the anchor’s mistaken assumption that a certain player won’t play well tonight, and realize that it’s time to make a move for the stadium.
Caption – Heaven is a place on Earth
You live a stone’s throw from the stadium (of course), and so you’re there to watch the team arrive and perhaps grab a few autographs to add to your collection. You’re fully decked out in your scarf, hat, jersey, team jacket, and carrying a mini-training kit bag for all your bits and bobs.
You buy your 497th program and head in to watch the game. We all know what happens at the games and so there’s no point in describing what we all understand only too well. The match ends in a win for your team and you’re obviously delighted. So it’s time to celebrate like a true hockey fan.
Now this is a day in the life of a North American super fan so no matter where you are, there’s bound to be at least one ice hockey-themed bar or restaurant in the area. If you’re in Toronto, you’ll head for Gretzky’s. In Seattle, it’s the Angry Beaver, Calgary has Flames Central, while in New York you have The Flying Puck.
You order the meal that’s cleverly named after a local team legend – something like the Bossy Burger or the Potvin Pizza, and finish off with a Trottier Trifle. We have no idea if those meals exist, but if they don’t, they really should. Then it’s time for home.
You recorded the game and watch a replay while enjoying a cold one in the glass you bought at the stadium gift store. Satisfied that you missed none of the action, it’s time to sit down and enjoy one of your favorite movies. You have every hockey-related movie imaginable on Blu-ray from all of those dodgy Mighty Ducks movies to the classic Slap Shot. You decide on Goon because you’ve only watched it 32 times.
Soon it’s time for bed and to brush your teeth with your Slap Shot hockey stick-shaped toothbrush. You change into your NHL-themed adult-sized onesie and set your goal light alarm, before laying your head down on your Stanley Cup-shaped pillow to dream of what the remainder of the season might bring.
We know, this reads more like the perfect day in the life of a super fan and if we’re honest, that’s sort of what it is. Unfortunately, we don’t have it quite so good here in the UK. But that’s precisely why we need to do more to help our teams promote themselves.
Ice hockey has the potential to become a huge sport here in the UK, and as fans, we can make that happen. So if you like the idea of ice hockey taking pride of place in British sport, then you know what to do. Each and every time you go to a game, make it your mission to bring a friend or family member with you who has never been to a game before.
Perhaps we’ll never truly reach the levels of super fandom our friends in North America enjoy; after all, football will always be the number one sport here. But we can at the very least help our teams to create a better atmosphere for their home games. So buy your team’s merch whenever you get a chance, gift it to relatives at Christmas, and drag you friends to every home game you can. The future of ice hockey in the UK is in the fans’ hands. So let’s not let the league down.