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Hey NHL – Ban the Fans?

May 3, 2011

The first round of the NHL playoffs were everything playoffs are supposed to be about;  exciting overtime games, hard-fought battles between rivals and unfortunately some errant plays leading to supplementary penalties.  No huge upsets, but a lot of late night nail-biters. There were the  typical complaints about erratic officiating and conspiracy theories regarding the winning teams.

The beginning of round two has had a little less excitement, but the NHL has seen fit to be petty in other ways. To date, a local Vancouver radio show, a local Vancouver car dealership and the local Vancouver super-fans have been given notice that they are not to a) conduct a ‘Crush the Cup’ contest in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, b) show their support with the ‘Go Canucks Go’ slogan in their window nor c), show their personal support by teasing the opposing team whilst wearing green suits.

Really NHL? Is this the way to court your fanbase? I can understand the ‘Crush the Cup’ idea, it is essentially making money on the back of both the Canucks and the Blackhawks, albeit for a good cause. But honestly, removing the logo and ‘Go Canucks Go’ slogan from a window asking those passersby to honk if they agree?  And if the Nashville Predators cannot concentrate or stand the heat from the heckling from the local Green Men’s antics, why do they call themselves professionals?

Every team survives on its fanbase and these tactics may actually drive the support up.  In every city that I’ve seen hockey in, quite a few now, there are logos and slogans everywhere. Do you want to be the person that tells a Montreal shopkeeper that they can’t have a logo from Les Habs in their window? Will the OHL and CHL be sending snitty letters to the various business owners in London, ON to remove the ‘Go Knights Go’ slogans from their windows/billboards/signage during the next playoff season?

The fan support for the Green Men (Sully & Force) has increased since the word got out that they had been warned to ‘tone it down’ at Vancouver home games. The ‘likes’ on their Facebook page have increased in the thousands since the story broke. And since the comments were directed to their activities at Rogers Arena, the superfans have decided to make their way to Nashville to continue their support.  It shouldn’t be any different than the Nashville’s Cell Block 303 – where they take great pride in supporting their Predators and nobody should expect anything less than raucous heckling from them.

So there, NHL, shouldn’t you be doing something about headshots, the stabilization of the Dallas Stars and the Phoenix Coyotes or finding that 2010 Stanley Cup-winning puck?

Go ‘insert favourite NHL team here’ Go!

Author’s note: no copyright infringement was intended nor any monies accrued from this article. For entertainment only.

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