“They’re There to Play a Different Game”

I was about six years old the first time my dad took me to a hockey game. We had season tickets to the AHL Binghamton Whalers until I was in my teens, and though I didn’t go to my first NHL game until I moved to DC in my late 20s, I’ve always been a hockey fan. Over the years, I’ve gotten increasingly intense in my fandom, and now probably spend more time reading about hockey online than any one person really needs to. (I blame Twitter for this. It provides a seemingly endless stream of information, even in the off season.)

One thing I’ve never been, though, is a puck bunny – the none-too-complimentary term for a female “fan” who is more interested in getting with the players than in the game. Part of the reason I’m not is… well, I don’t think I’m the kind of gal anyone would ever call a “bunny” in any context, and because, frankly, it never occurred to me. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I liked hockey before I was old enough to be interested in boys. And maybe because I prefer dudes with teeth.

Overall, I don’t have that much of a problem with puck bunnies. I mean, if you want to throw away piles of cash to go to games and meet the grinder of your dreams, knock yourself out. The only thing that bugs me is that they make it harder for women who actually like hockey to be taken seriously as fans. I’ve gotten in pre-game bar conversations with guys that end with, “Wow! You really know a lot about hockey!” – complete with shocked facial expression. I’ve had to explain why I wear a Brooks Laich jersey – not a single reason for which involves his looks – and still had people say, “Oh, not because he’s cute?” Gah. No. One of the few things I dislike about the Caps organization, in fact, has to do with the way they encourage this female fan stereotype with their Scarlet Caps website and Hockey & Heels event. (I mean, really, the Caps bandwagon is so full of hockey newbies at this point that having their Hockey 101 info on the “ladies” site is just asinine. Lack of hockey knowledge in this town is not a gendered issue.)

But anyway… this is an incredibly long preamble to sharing what may be my all-time favorite YouTube video, which I found this morning through the always-fantastic Puck Daddy blog.

This is, as the kids on the Internet say, made of win.

10 thoughts on ““They’re There to Play a Different Game”

  1. Katie November 12, 2010 / 3:52 pm

    I had a co-worker a few weeks ago tell me that he’d never met a girl who actually knew hockey. I found that rather sad. I will admit to being just as guilty as the next girl for going weak in the knees when my favorite cute players smile, but I’m also the girl who goes to games where I have no idea who is playing, I just want to be at a hockey game. Unfortunately, there isn’t a predominantly female sport that has equivalent male following, so the guys really don’t get how the opposite sex can be fans driven by love that has nothing to do with hormones.

    • Sarah November 14, 2010 / 10:37 pm

      Good point… maybe if more men were hardcore fans of women’s sports, they would have an easier time of understanding that we can just be deeply into the game.

      And don’t get me wrong, I am aware that some of the players are good-looking – I do have eyes. 😉 It’s just not relevant to my interest in hockey.

  2. Alexis November 12, 2010 / 4:49 pm

    Like you, my only issue with puck bunnies is that they make it harder for me to be taken seriously as a girl who actually likes hockey. As a lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan, it’s been irritating to have people start up conversations with me with this line: “So, let me guess – your favorite players are Kane and Toews?” Then I usually let them have it – I give them Blackhawks history by giving my favorite Blackhawks of all time, none of which are Kane and Toews. In my experience, the male Red Wings fans are usually the ones that are blown away by my knowledge of the sport, especially when I’m talking smack to them.

    My best friend is still in a state of bewilderment because I bought myself a little birthday gift from me to me: my Chris Chelios 1992 Stanley Cup Finals CCM jersey. She can’t wrap her head around why I’d spend so much money on a jersey that looks identical to another one I have (I have a game-worn Eric Daze jersey from 1996).

    I’m proud to be such a hockey fan. I go through withdrawals during the offseason (even this past offseason, which has been the shortest Chicago has had in 49 years). I have 11 hanging proudly in my closet, from the Blackhawks, my AHL team the Chicago Wolves, and a couple odds and ends (an Eric Lindros Flyers practice jersey, a Vladimir Tretiak CCCP jersey, and a Leonardo Reapers jersey from the Clerks 2 film). I actually got my boyfriend into hockey because he enjoyed watching me watch the games, now he gets into them too. The “Puck the Bunnies” video has officially been favorited by me – may it be the anthem for the true-blue REAL female hockey fan!

    • Sarah November 14, 2010 / 10:39 pm

      I’m pretty sure I witnessed my sister-in-law (a native Chicagoan) have the exact same conversation about Blackhawks fandom.

      So glad to know that there are other women like us out there!

  3. Mom November 15, 2010 / 7:48 am

    Three cheers for you lady FANS !! I may have reached my saturation point for tv sports watching but I still really like being an on site FAN! (P.S. Wasn’t it the Broome Dusters you cut your teeth on?? The Whalers were the second local team.)

  4. Common Loon November 17, 2010 / 2:01 pm

    @ Mom: I know it was the Dusters for me (and I still have the puck to prove it), but Sarah might not have gone to the games until it was the Whalers.

  5. Sarah November 17, 2010 / 2:57 pm

    @Mom & CL – Brian raised this same question (though by email, since he doesn’t comment) and what I told him was, “I didn’t say my first game was the Whalers – I said we had season tickets to them until I was in my teens, which is true. I didn’t feel it added anything to the story to be THAT specific.” So yes, I left out the detail of who the team was in the first sentence, but it was, indeed, the Dusters.

  6. Eileen March 19, 2011 / 12:52 pm

    Okay, I must have read this originally during a 3am feeding and not been able to watch the YouTube. It’s freakin awesome! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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