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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hockey and the Female Fan, Revisited.

I have a favorite Tweep of mine to thank for this link- Angela MacIsaac, or @that_angela. She's a former sportswriter and journalist and a Flames fan who knows her stuff. Today she sent me this link to an article by Cassie McClellan of fromtherink.com about hockey and the female fan. In it, a roundtable of female bloggers and fans talk about how they first fell in love with the sport, how male fans have received them, and some of their negative encounters. I found it interesting and quite relatable.

I don't know if I ever made it clear to anyone how I first got into the sport, so I'll do so now. The movie "Miracle," about (what else) the 1980 U.S. Men's Olympic hockey team and their coach, Herb Brooks, was released in 2004. I saw it on cable one day during the eighth grade and fell in love with the story, and with the sport in general. Throughout that summer (which was ironically in the middle of the lockout year, 2004-05), I watched the movie, read a book (The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey) based on it, and watched classic games on MSG. By the time the 2005 preseason started, I was head over heels for hockey. How I became an Islanders fan is a different story.

In five full years of being a fan, I've been pretty lucky so far. Though I have gotten surprised looks from fellow fans, not to mention some less-than-acceptable name suggestions in my eyes when looking for the perfect podcast name ("Hockey Score Broads"? Uh, no), overall the majority of male fans I've encountered has accepted me as an equal, and we've had some great discussions and debates. Unfortunately, though, that's not the same everywhere- and even the NHL's marketing team, not to mention individual team marketing squads, tugs at the wrong strings. Pink and shiny isn't the way to go, guys, and I've said it before. Neither are those detestable "Marry me, Miller!" shirts a friend of mine found in a team store- at HSBC Arena. Yes, those are real, the hockey gods help us.

So yes, women can be actual fans who spew stats and celebrate goals and can name more than one player on the team. Of course, women can be women as well, and every now and then they will notice a player who's easy on the eyes, but more often (at least, I hope) they will bleed their team's colors, cheer on and cry for their favorites every season, right along with the guys. I know I do.

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