WWYCF: Who Would You Cheer For?

Posted by Kyle Kosior in Editorials on May 6, 2009 — 9 Comments

Since the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, I have been thinking about how people approach the Stanley Cup Showdown if their team isn’t participating. I know several people that will only cheer for the Canadian teams or who specifically cheer against certain squads, while others will simply hop on a bandwagon for the duration of the playoffs.

Addressing the issue of cheering for a team based on its location, I feel that this is an attempt at misguided patriotism. I linked an article about this from Max Hockey the other day, and really can’t improve on what that piece said, which essentially was that anyone who cheers for a team just because they are Canadian etc. is really doing themselves a disservice. Every team has Canadian players on it, so why not cheer for them instead? Of the teams that made the dance, only Calgary was “led” by a Canadian (I don’t count Luongo, goalie captains, pfffft). In fact, all three Canadian teams have Europeans or Americans playing significant roles, much like basically every other team in the league. So, in reality, by hoping the Cup goes to a Canadian team, you really can’t get what you wish for as the Cup will spend a significant portion of the summer abroad anyways.

As you may have guessed, I am also against bangwagon jumping. I know its tough to be on the outside looking in, having been an Oiler fan since I was 5. The 80′s were good, but since I have been a teenager I always thought May and June were all about getting excited for the draft and watching the World Championships. Having been through so many lean years, you would think I would be eager to join a team for the run, a free-agent rental fan as it were. Well brother, you would be wrong. It seems the lack of playoff success has made my loyalty stronger. When the playoffs roll around and the Oilers head off to the worlds, I basically become a dispassionate watcher of the games, a UN observer if you will (minus the corruption, raping, pillaging, and anti-Semitism) who will sit down and follow a series or two without really caring about the outcome.

My opinion is that if you think hard enough, you should be able to find something to hate about every other team in the league. Canucks? Total douchebags led by two gingers. Flames? Dont get me started, I would rather cheer for the Taliban All-Stars. Red Wings? Hockeytown my ass. Ducks? Get Chris Pronger to close that gap in his teeth. You get the drill. I think that the fealty to your team should burn deep inside you and sustain you over the lean summer months. Cheering for anyone else is basically akin to heresy. Even cheering against a team means that by default you are hoping for someone else to win. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

So, I put this question to you dear fans: Who Would You Cheer For? Can you bring yourself to root, root, root for the home team? Do you watch The Best of DVD’s in the summer? Follow baseball? Break your ankles jumping on and off bandwagons? Lets hear about it.

  • oilyflame

    I was intrigued thinking about this post and I did a little research. Please see the chart below where I broke down the Canadian content on each team in the NHL based on each teams roster website.

    Devils – 9/25 – 36%
    NYI – 12/26 – 46%
    Rangers – 9/21 – 43%
    Flyers – 16/23 – 70%
    Pens – 13/24 – 63%
    Bruins – 15/24 – 63%
    Sabers – 11/25 – 44%
    Montreal – 12/25 – 48%
    Sens – 16/25 – 64%
    Leafs – 12/27 – 44%
    Thrashers – 9/22 – 41%
    Caines – 12/31 – 39%
    FLA – 13/24 – 54%
    TBAY – 10/27 – 37%
    Caps – 10/25 – 40%

    Hawks – 20/31 – 65%
    Jackets – 21/35 – 60%
    Wings – 7/24 – 29%
    Preds – 15/22 – 68%
    Blues – 13/24 – 54%
    Flames – 21/30 – 70%
    Avs – 20/32 – 63%
    Oils – 21/29 – 72%
    Wild – 15/25 – 60%
    Canucks – 14/24 – 58%
    Ducks – 14/27 – 52%
    Stars – 13/28 – 46%
    Kings – 11/26 – 42%
    Coyotes – 11/27 – 41%
    Sharks – 14/25 – 56%

    I can understand where Kyle is coming from to an extent. I believe it is a complete over reaction to claim that it may be a disservice to root for a Canadian team (or American) after your team has been kicked out of the playoff race.

    When I have been asked over the past couple of days who I am cheering for now, I take a second and have said that I hate the canucks as a flames fan, but the canadian part of me says I would love to see the cup back with a canadian team even though it is only comprised of 58% canadians.

    Perhaps an alternative way of looking at patriotic fans is not the players that comprise the teams but the communities that support the team (or don’t in many cases down south). If one were to take the opposite approach (looking only at the roster that comprise the team) it would be similar to looking at a country such as Canada or the United States, and say that you were not going to show your support for the country simply because it has a significant amount of immigration (i.e. individuals who were not born in the country).

    At the end of the day, call it what you will, but fans need to feel close to the sport they support in any way possible. Therefore if are a Winnipegger and want to cheer for the Hawks who have the most Winnipeggers on their roster – Have-at-it!

  • Bob Roberts

    I rarely talk to anyone who just supports hockey as I do.

    Not a team. Just hockey.

    I have my likes and dislikes like anyone else, but as someone once said of me:

    “He’ll watch and entire game, every second, between the second to last and last teams; just to see one terrifc play in the final minute. And that play doesn’t have to be a goal, either.”

    The remark was a scathing one, of course, meant to portray me as foolish or worse; but I think of it as the ultimate compliment.

    I just love hockey. Always have.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Kyle

    Bob, I see your point in regards to hockey. For me, part of the fun of hockey is having MY team. I guess its an apples and oranges thing.

    Oilyflame, thanks for the research. Really good stuff. I guess there are tons of different reasons to support a team (met a player, like their sweaters, favorite town, etc) but for me it still boils down to sticking with your guys. Good call on Winnipeg though. I assume there are tons of Hawks fans now, since I have met at least 12 Earl’s waitresses who are dating Jonathan Toews.

  • leftinspace

    After the Sharks were eliminated I’ve been cheering on whomever it would take to make each series longer and more intense. In other words, I am always cheering for the team with fewer wins. If they’re even, I just watch. I’m with Bob on this one–I love hockey. The shorter these series are, the less there is to watch before next season starts, so I want them to last as long as possible. I’m kind of like a kid who keeps finding ways to push back their bedtime.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Kyle

    Lefty, I like your line about pushing back the bedtime. Since I have a randy young wife, I like my bedtime as early as possible. So being an Oiler fan in the spring is awesome.

  • Bob Roberts

    Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had my favourite teams, but never my hometown one. Went to all those games in Edmonton in the 80′s and never was an OILER fan in particular, but I sure loved the hockey I got to see. Went to all the Canucks’ games in 1994: loved the hockey…

    Favourite team once upon a time: Bruins 1966 – 73.
    Favourite player on that team: Derek Sanderson. Runners up: Johnny Bucyk, Fred Stanfield.

    See? Old.

    This is my 50th Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    Maybe it’s having that perspective a bit, and maybe it’s being my Dad’s son: he taught me to play and to study the game and when all else fails — to cheer for the underdog.

    leftinspace has it right: more hockey!

  • Bob Roberts

    And many many years from now, there’ll still be hockey.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Ari

    Jiminy Cricket suggests that we let our conscience be our guide, but whoever I have $ on is my guide.

  • Grant

    I’m with Kyle. Once the oilers are out the focus turns to the worlds, but I still pay attention for purposes of playoff pools. True fans of one team would not be caught dead cheering on a rival, regardless of “Canadian content.” It would be unconscionable for an Oilers fan (from before 2006) or Flames fan (who cheered for the Flames in their 8 year golf tour) to cheer for the ‘Nucks. It would be heresy for Habs fans to cheer for the Leafs (if they ever make the playoffs again), and it would not be right for real fFlyers fans to jump on the Crosby bandwagon. As pointed out “Cheering for the Canadian Teams” business is usually misplaced, as the U.S. teams have just as many or more Canadians playing on them anyway.

    I like O.T. games like what we just saw in the Ducks/Wings series, for much the same reason leftinspace does, but I have to say the enthusiasm is dampened when there’s no personal stake in the outcome. I like seeing the cruel effectiveness of Pronger, the speed and skill of stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Toews, and unreal saves by the Wards and Hillers of the world, but “cheering” doesn’t really happen once the ‘Oil are out.