the struggles of a female hockey fan

I am a female.

I love hockey.

“You must think the players are hot.”

I understand the game.

“That round thing is called a puck. They want to shoot it into the opponent’s net.”

My favorite player is __________.

“You think he’s cute, don’t you?”

When I defend said player.

“You need to get over your obsession with him.”

My least favorite player is __________.

“What’s the matter? Not good-looking enough for you?”

When I go to games.

“Are you bringing a huge ‘Marry me, ______’ sign with you, Miss Puck Bunny?”

When I attempt to have a civilized discussion/debate with other fans.

“Whoa. Calm down.”

When I disagree with other fans.

“Stop trying to pick fights with fellow fans.”

When I pull facts and stats to discuss my points.

“Sorry, I disagree with your opinion.”

When I give constructive criticism on my team (usually in aforementioned discussions).

“You don’t understand hockey and probably only watch during playoffs.”

When (in the rare occasion) someone appreciates what I say.

“Wow, I’ve never met a girl who knows hockey like you do.”

When I get a new jersey or shirt.

“They’re not meant to be fashion statements.”

When I correct someone on just about anything.

*stink eye*

I am a

I love hockey.

I understand the rules of the game.

I definitely get the basic concept of putting the puck in the net.

I also get that centers, wingers, defensemen, and goalies don’t all have the same role and responsibility.

I am, however, still sorting out my left wings versus my right wings.

I know there are different kinds of defensemen and different kinds of forwards and even different kinds of goalies depending on where and how they learned to play, as well as their preferred style.

I understand that when we win or lose a game, the glory or blame does not fall on just one player.

I understand that sometimes, the numbers don’t tell the whole truth (whether positively or negatively).

I don’t think the “ref, you suck” chant is okay by any means. I’d rather just cheer for my team instead.

I don’t believe in booing teams, especially our own.

I don’t believe in giving up on my team, no matter how much they may be struggling.

I don’t rub my team’s success in people’s faces because I know that failure is the other side of the same coin.

I do celebrate my team.

I mourn with them.

I don’t know all the personal histories of the players or their wives, girlfriends, dogs, cats, etc. They deserve some privacy, too, and the ensuing drama does not positively affect my fanship, so it is unimportant.

I don’t always even know where they’re from.

Or how tall they are.

Or how much they weigh.

But I know how to pronounce their names correctly.

And identify their position and titles.

Because I think that’s respectful and the least I could do.

I call out BS when I see it.

Especially from analysts and commentators (I’m looking at you, NBC Sports).

I have met several women who are more knowledgeable about the sport than me.

I don’t like the women’s cut of a jersey, so I will usually opt for a men’s. (Very fashionable indeed.)

Many shirts I like only come in men’s sizes, too.

I know icing isn’t just for cupcakes.

I understand what offsides is.

I know most of the referee hand motions for penalties.

I definitely enjoy a good fight.

But I especially hope to see a goalie fight live in my lifetime.

Or at least a Gordie Howe hat trick.

No, I don’t expect to marry a hockey player.

Though I’m not opposed to the idea either.

I stand by my team.

Because they’re my boys, and I’m their fan.

I am a female.

I just love hockey.

This is (obviously) quite different from what I usually write, but I wanted to explore femininity a little differently this time through the lens of something I enjoy. Hockey is traditionally considered to be a “masculine” sport, but it is something I am quite passionate and knowledgeable about. Many of these reactions I have received personally; some have been experienced by other female fans I’ve interacted with. My hope is that when you see the second half of this piece on what makes me a hockey fan, you would see that a woman can enjoy this sport just fine and does not deserve the prejudices and snap judgments that we often receive. This may not be every woman’s experience, but it is mine and some of my friends’.



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