The Ritualistic Fan | Alive and Well in modern Hockey?

Rituals are a part of any sport. My own experience has shown me that no fans are quite as ritualistic as fans of hockey.

I know I certainly have my own rituals when it comes to my beloved Washington Capitals. For example, if they play at home I wear my home jersey and the away jersey for away games. If they lose a game, the jersey gets washed. If they win, you bet it doesn’t get washed. My red jersey hasn’t been washed since November 18th!

I took the time earlier this evening to discover other fans rituals. Both fans of the Capitals and other teams across the NHL as well, just to show you that it doesn’t matter who you support, the mentality of hockey fans across the world is the same. We are an incredibly passionate group of people who live for our favourite teams. Some rituals are as simple as giving their favourite little mascots a squeeze to the more complicated of making sure they always eat at the same places, trace the same route around the arena and get the same seats for each game. Young and old, these rituals are important.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington CapitalsAlex Ovechkin with young fans | Photo Source:

So in order to show you some of the things we do, I took to Facebook and simply asked people what their rituals were and I got some really interesting answers.

I even found someone who was just as ritualistic as me when it comes to his jersey.

The closest I come is my handling of my Datsyuk jersey. I go to a LOT of Wings games and will only hand wash it during the off season. I don’t wash it between pre-season to play-offs. [I ask about the bad juju, doesn’t he want to wash it after a loss?] A season is a season, ya know? They carry the burden of a lost two points, I carry it with beer and popcorn from The Joe. I assure you, beer ends up on it. End of season washings are….interesting. Febreeze helps. When I am done it feels like I should get 5 in the box for fighting.

Jon Gibson, via Facebook

Some might even turn on family if they don’t think they can do what they need to do…

Always wear Caps gear of some kind. But have a Caps tank that I wear under more dressy clothes if I’m going out so always keeping Caps close to my heart… even when I can’t watch the game! [Have you always done this?] Yes and last week I couldn’t find my tank and jokingly accused my son who is a Kings fan of stealing it. Lol. But finally found it inside a Caps sweatshirt I had pulled off….we fans are a little crazy!!

Nancy A Kelley, via Facebook

Why I hear you ask? Surely, what we do doesn’t make a blind bit of difference?

You know? Maybe if we were to stop and really analyse our behaviour it might seen a little crazy, I mean I’m pretty sure my husband thinks I’m nuts but it doesn’t hurt anyone and actually they give us a sense of hope. A belief that we might actually have some small part in bringing our teams the win. It makes us feel part of something bigger than ourselves and that is what makes this sport so amazing in my opinion. I don’t know as I’ve ever felt so much a part of something as instantly as I have done with hockey.


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