Note: Part I can be found here.
I’m back from the holiday break and what did we learn (or were reminded of) between the trading freeze and today?
• Drew Doughty is an All Star.
• The Kings have fantastic goaltending and goalie coaches.
• Willie D. has no idea how to build team chemistry.
• The players have goal songs.
• Jack Hughes is still in play!
While I was touring Kontinental Hockey League country (column coming next week), my inbox was filling up from those of you who had their own bad fan experiences. So before I get to the worst 10 fans of all time, here are the top email selections from you, the readers:
• Shirt off guy. Sometimes in the upper upper 300s.
• The visiting fan entourage who starts chanting their hometown chant.*
• The guy who gets ice cream all over himself and doesn’t realize it.
• Sharks Fans who call Kings Fans “bandwagoners.”
• The Creepy Dance Cam Guy.
• The guy who thinks he’s a hockey scout.
• The former college player.
• The guy sitting 600 feet from the ice who screams at the refs and actually thinks they can hear him over 100 db of Bon Jovi and crowd noise.
* - The only time this actually works is the Freeway Series where Kings fans invade the Honda Center. The “Go Kings Go” is two to three times louder than “Let’s Go Ducks.” Ducks fans may actually be the worst in all of sports. But that’s another column altogether.
And, now on with the countdown…
10. Too Many Beers Guy
Here are the warning signs:
A.) He’s typically a college freshman who hasn’t really figured out the whole drinking thing yet;
B.) He’s usually the shortest guy in his group;
C.) Every TV timeout, he hops up for another round;
D.) He almost always returns to his seat carrying two beers and spilling them all over the place;
E.) He enters a glazed stupor by the second intermission.
9. The Puck Father
You know this guy. He’s near the team benches -- near the spot where the junior equipment folks throw out the pucks before the players emerge for warmups -- practically pleading for pucks and holding his kid up in the air like a hostage.
8. Check-in Guy
Check-in Guy brings his kid to the game and feels the need to call home during every period to check in with his wife. The first call usually unfolds in a sequence like this:
”Hey honey, it’s me…” (Translation: I just wanted to thank you for letting me come to the game.)
”I can barely hear you!” (Indeed, it’s tough to hear when you’re sitting in an arena with 17,000 other people.)
”We’re at the game!” (Always said with an inflection, as if it’s an amazing feat to be able to call someone from a hockey game.)
”It’s great!” (He wouldn’t know if the game’s good or not, because he just sat down and couldn’t allow a few minutes to pass without calling.)
”Uh-huh, yeah he’s right here.” (It’s important for the wife to know that her husband didn’t lose their child.)
”I’ll let you talk to him…” (To prove it.)
Every subsequent call pretty much sounds the same. On the bright side, this guy also leaves early because it’s a school night.
7. Stoned Aggressive Guy
He’s a distant cousin to the Too Many Beers Guy. These guys are prepared to offend everyone within earshot of their seats. They’ll catcall your girlfriend, daughter, or sister. They’ll drop random F-bombs. They’ll spill beer on you. They’ll use their middle finger until it hurts. Usually you can spot the SAGs right away, sometimes even before the game starts.
6. Instagram Mom
The first of two callouts to the ladies in my top ten goes to the Instagram Mom. She’s the mom who suddenly decides that she needs to get a picture of her family during the middle of a period so she can post it real time on Instagram. Bonus points are earned here if she’s oblivious enough to ask somebody else in the section to take the picture.
5. The Obnoxious Guy Rooting for the Visitors
Look, most of us have cheered our home team in an enemy arena; however, there’s a huge disparity between supporting the visitors and provoking the home fans, amirite? The Obnoxious Guy usually wears some form of opposing paraphernalia (usually a sweater, sometimes a hat), shouts out unintelligent nicknames for his players, claps his hands repulsively, curses and flashes his middle finger towards the ice, and does everything imaginable to exasperate people in his section. He blossoms when he does it.
4. Flirty Fans
Hockey has a spectacle where some women make “Marry Me” or double-entendre signs directed at players and stand at the glass during warmups, garnering a lot of attention on social media these days. You see that a lot on the Eastern time zones, not so much in the West.
3. Work Buddies
Listen, going with work buddies is excellent team building and camaraderie. But pick your seatmates wisely because three out of five of your work buddies have no interest in the game and we all suffer. They’re sitting in the company seats. Sometimes wearing suits or a blazer over jeans. They’re nursing a single beer over two periods. They’re discussing work-related projects. They still think Canadians say “Eh?” every two seconds. They’re not afraid to tell a story from that other hockey game they went to eight years ago and they definitely plan on leaving before the end of the game to “beat the traffic.”
As an added punch in the stomach, they usually have great seats. The world just isn’t fair. Don’t confuse this guy with Game Date Guy. Game Date Guy brings his budding relationship to her first hockey game and tries to show her why hockey is the greatest game on earth. That guy is just plain awesome.
2. Cotton Candy Guy
This is the guy who orders something from a strolling vendor during a critical penalty kill. He doesn’t just order, he stands up to take his wallet out and decides if it’s going to be a twenty or a ten he is going to pay with. He remains standing, unaware, until someone gives him the “DOWN IN FRONT!” and forces him into the half-standing, half-crouch position. Goodness gracious, sakes alive, I hate this guy.
Odd Fact #1: This guy is always firmly planted in the middle of a row, which means everyone needs to pass both the cash and the purchased item back and forth. If you want everyone in your section to hate you with every fiber of their being, start here.
Odd Fact #2: Cotton Candy Guy usually pulls double duty as Check-in Guy. If you ever notice Check-in Guy at the start of a game, buckle up for the vendor/wallet fiasco at some point. Trust me here.
1. Cell Phone Guy
The guy sitting on the glass right behind the goal who talks excitedly on his cell phone and executes those “Hey, look at me!” waves during every scrum behind the net. Cell phones at the game is the worst phenomenon of the technology century, especially the dude who wants to showcase what he can do to disrupt the game experience from his $750 seat.
That wraps up the top ten. I am sure I missed some, so feel free to write in with your own. In the countdown world, I think I’m supposed to quote the immortal Casey Kasem and remind you to “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”