With the NHL season finally getting into full swing, chances are that if you read this blog, you're eventually going to wander into an NHL arena at some point. It may be because of the appealing ice girls, a significant other who dragged you along, or you may have been kidnapped and forced to attend by someone in the team's sales department (the Panthers are notorious for this). No matter how you got there, the point is that you are there and have to live with your situation. That's why I'm here to help.
I know, I know, an NHL arena can be a big, loud, scary place with lots of, you know, other people. Fear not my feeble, anti-social, computer screen tanned counterparts. I have been into the devil's lair and back many a time. All you need to succeed is a little know how and common sense. A love of hockey is also a plus.
In another installment of BMR's Handy Pocket Guides for Beginners, we will take a look at attending hockey games. I'm not talking about how to get from your car to your assigned seat. I'm talking about not being a jackass and inconvenience to the other fans around you. You don't want to be "that guy (or girl)".
Be aware of special promotions before purchasing tickets. These come in all forms, some good and some bad... Everyone likes free shit on give away nights. Might as well get the most bang for your buck, right? ...People without kids don't like Kid Appreciation Day. There's nothing worse than going to a game with 5,000 screaming children. Actually, I don't see why any adult would like that... Senior citizen, student, military and other assorted discounts. Be aware of the perks that come with your person. Some teams have super sweet deals for students, others give discounts to just about anyone who asks. Know your options before your buy!
Arrive on time; game time means game time. First off, the pre-game festivities (especially on opening night) may be worth getting to the arena early for. Secondly, when there's a minute left in the period and my team has a power play, don't you dare walk in front of where I'm sitting. Two words; pepper spray. There is no excuse for being late, even if you live in a major metropolitan area. You know there is going to be traffic, so prepare for it. Exceptions to this rule are fans attending games in Los Angeles, Miami and other select parts of the west coast. In these places, it's better to be fashionably late. You need to look like you have many other important activities going on in your life.
Don't cut the concession line. This is a cardinal sin. Everyone else has the patience and respect for others to wait in line, and so do you. If you're simply allergic to long lines then get your food during the period, and not at intermission. The lines should be almost non-existent during that time.
Do yourself a favor and don't buy merchandise sold at the arena. If you've ever been to a concert, you know the true meaning of the phrase 'jacked up merchandise prices'. Most NHL arenas tend to do the same. Get you stuff online (see: Ebay) or a local retailer. Trust me, there is no reason to pay $200 for that jersey you've been wanting for so long. Might as well wait a bit longer and save some green.
Don't be a know it all. We've all sat near the person who thinks they are the next Barry Melrose. You know, the person who has brought a friend to the game that knows nothing about hockey and all game long "Barry" over there rattles on about how great [home team's best player] is or some other drivel. Meanwhile, you're stuck sitting there trying to enjoy the game without the commentary of an inbred. Alex Ovechkin is one of the best young stars the league has to offer? Gee, thanks for that insight. He plays for the Washington Captials? Wow. I can't believe TSN hasn't hired you yet.
Tell your kid to shut. The fuck. Up. It's a similar situation to airplanes. We're stuck sitting near each other for the next couple of hours, so please don't ruin my experience because I'm going to do my best to not ruin yours. Get your kid to stop crying, stop kicking my chair, and teach them something about hockey while you're at it.
Do create funny, abstract and original chants. Sure, hearing 'Go Sens go' for the millionth time doesn't really get old, and hell, it's tradition. But everyone loves the person who can come up with that new, cheeky and irreverent chants (or heckles). "Kerry Fraser touches little boys" would certainly qualify as all of the above. All that being said, you usually cant go wrong with a classic like "Messier sucks", or for the Ranger fan in you, "Potvin sucks".
Your "priceless" sign does not make you clever. Before you go to the game, make sure you leave your 'sign that copies those MasterCard commercials and tells us all how happy you are to be here today' at home. Those were old and unoriginal five years ago. You can do better. Ironically, you also paid to get in. Hockey games have set ticket prices, and by the power of my deduction, are by no means priceless.
Leave the Puck Bunnies alone. They have no interest in you, and you don't know where they've been.
Do not, under any circumstances, leave the game early. Are you one of those people who leaves the game two minutes early to beat traffic? Chances are you probably have regretted doing that at least once. So you know what? This year, don't leave early and sit down while you're doing it so the rest of us can watch the game. Why would you want to leave early anyway? You paid about $100 bucks to get in, might as well get your money's worth if you're not about to support the team. A handy tip; stick around for about 10 minutes after the final buzzer. Let everyone else leave, so that you'll have stayed for the entire game and still have a smooth ride home. Exceptions to this rule; grave illness or your team getting blown out of the building. There's no reason to stay if it's 8-0 at the first intermission. You paid to watch hockey, not clowns on ice.