I started this column a few weeks back by previewing and revealing the Number Five Worst Hockey Fan: Obnoxious Loud Guy. Today, I look at the worst fans, numbers 20 through 11. Full disclosure, I’ve probably morphed through being some of these guys in my 45 years watching puck all over North America. I’m on version 4.0 of myself. It’s a better place.
Now, on with the countdown…
Oh wait. Before I get to the worst 20, I’d be remiss not to cover the Honorable Mentions:
- The guy who gets his kid a souvenir stick before the game and lets them spend the entire game banging it against the back of your seat. (Bonus points when they whack you in the back of the head once or twice.)
- Foul-mouthed dude in the middle of a section filled with kids.
- Dude wearing a sweater with his own name on the back.
- Guy sitting in the first two rows who stands when there’s a fight so he can see better and instead blocks your view.
- Guy on the glass who bangs the glass during that same fight.
- Dude who challenges players in the penalty box.
Without further ado, here’s the first installment of my worst fans in hockey countdown.
20. Restless Leg Couple
The couple ten seats into a row who leave and come back repeatedly, each period, every period, and then struggles with their footing as they inch by with drinks without lids.
19. Dude Who Sits in Your Seat / The Guy Who Is in the Right Seat and Row, But Wrong Section
You know the guy who sneaks down into your seat when he sees a patch of empties. He’s made himself comfortable — even brought his food with him and/or left his empty wrappers in your foot space. Arenas use assigned seating and have ushers for a reason. This guy should be ranked higher but the pain typically only lasts for a second.
18. Jealous Dude
This is the guy who thinks the entire stadium is looking at his girlfriend. Jealous Dude does not want you looking at her. And no matter what happens, even if you’re clearly not looking at her, he’s still glancing around with one of those Robert DeNiro Looks from Taxi Driver all over his face.
17. Back of Bench Dude
The guy sitting near the opposing team bench who yells insults, usually unfunny ones, at every player on the bench. This guy is polite in every aspect of his life but turns into a Vegas standup guy after knocking back a few. Unfortunately for all of us, he’s not remotely clever and stumbles out insults like, “Hey, Dumba, did you lose your magic feather?” He’s bombing out there and doesn’t care. Every time I sit near Back of Bench Dude, I’m always angry he didn’t bring his sitcom laugh track.
16. Phonetic Guy
This guy needs to pronounce every Russian or Slovak or Czech player’s name the way a native speaker would say it. You know, the know-it-all American who digs out his acting class Eastern European accent to pronounce “Artem Anisimov” or “Tomáš Plekanec” when shouting out the names of those respective players. Phonetic Guy is the same guy who turns around and corrects you when you unknowingly screw up a fact.
15. Big Shot in the Cheap Seats
We have a saying when we go to StubHub searching for the game: “Do you want good seats or in the building?” The wallet usually dictates “in the building.” I mean, just being there is a treat. Way in the upper upper 300s, there are some interesting characters. Like the fool sitting right in back of you telling his bros about the struggles of being in upper management but bragging about the “great seats that he got from work.” He’s in denial somewhere.
14. Big Hat Guy
Hey big hat guy! Give us a chance to see the game. Save the Babushka or your derby-shaped Kangol for your trip to the snow. Inside the arena, don’t act oblivious that you’re blocking my view. You definitely are and it isn’t the slightest bit cute. I hate that guy.
13. Guy with Glass Seats Who Brings His Young Kids and Doesn’t Take Away Their Electronics
I don’t know, it just bugs the living hell out of me. It’s worse on television when there’s a big play and the kid can barely lift their eyes up to see what just happened.
12. Bad Parents
Yeah, yeah, I know where you think I’m headed. Think again. Bad hockey parenting is where you’re a long-term Kings fan who let’s their kids make their favorite team choices. You’ve seen the beaten-down father wearing a Dustin Brown sweater while his kids sport their Ducks or Sharks sweaters. That’s bad parenting, plain and simple. As soon as they are born you have to drill the sports bias into them. You have to go all Manchurian Candidate Fan on them, brainwashing at will.
11. The Dude Who Wears a Sweater of Someone Who Isn’t on the Team
Okay, (most) retired players are exempt here. So are the warm-up jerseys you won in the Kings Care Foundation silent auction, or even a game-worn sweater.
This actually happened: Three weeks ago at Staples, I spotted someone wearing a purple Kings, number 28 Oleg Tverdovsky, sweater. I swear. Apparently his “other sweater” was in the wash.
Now, pay attention Kings fans, because Guy Number 11 will probably be pretty relevant come the 2019 trade deadline: Once a someone is traded away, don’t wear it to the stadium. Don’t burn it or throw it away either. Wear it at home when you are cleaning or watching a game on the NHL Network.
That’s it for this week ... we’ll continue the countdown soon. What fans do you think will make the top 10?