Fan Rivalries, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

All this back and forth concerning Raleigh and Edmonton brings back memories of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing helps to create a rivalry like the playoffs and there probably is still a bit of a rivalry between Oilers fans and Hurricanes fans, even though the teams have not played each other very often since those Finals.

I think that most Caniacs would agree, the Oilers fans who made the trek down to Raleigh to watch the games were a pleasure to be around. They were passionate about their team, but they were good-natured about it and had fun. I would certainly categorize the rivalry with them as being a "good" one.

In my opinion, another good rivalry would be with the Washington Capitals. Even when the Caps were not a very good hockey club, the "Caps Road Crew" would rent a bus or two and would come to the RBC to cheer for their team a couple times per year. I don't recall reading about any bad incidents regarding any of those visits.

Then there are some rivalries that could be considered bad. By "bad", I mean that some fans do not enjoy them as much. For instance, some Detroit Red Wings fans can be loud and obnoxious and are not much fun to be around before or during a game. Some Devils fans used to be that way, as well. Does anyone have other additions?

Let's face it, each fanbase has their good apples and bad ones, including Carolina.

Finally, we will look at the last category, the "ugly" rivalry. Have a wild guess who might be in this one? Our friends at "Die By The Blade", a Buffalo Sabres blog recently asked me whether or not I felt that there was a rivalry between Buffalo and Carolina and wondered if I could write up a brief article about it explaining my answer. Of course I think that there is a rivalry, and of course I couldn't resist replying.

I was very polite in my response to him, (which is copied in whole on his website at the link), but there were certainly other things that I could have added. I'm not sure why, but some Buffalo fans are the most confrontational fans that I have ever witnessed. They are loud, they get in your face, and they won't move. They have an attitude like they have won 100 championships, yet they have never won any. It's strange indeed.

Even putting aside team loyaties, hockey fans in general are certainly very passionate and they can be a discriminating bunch. Sometimes they will jump all over one of their own if there is a perception that the person doesn't have enough hockey knowledge to belong in the clique. You never see a football fan yell at another if a question is raised about a certain rule during a game.

Then you have some fans (and writers), who for whatever reason, want to keep the game all to themselves. They simply draw a line across a map and automatically presume that anyone below that line doesn't deserve to have NHL hockey. Does that make any sense at all?

You would think that people who really loved the great game would want it to grow. They would want others to enjoy it, as much as they do.

Can you just imagine if all hockey fans were united in a genuine effort to truly grow the game? Other sports fans wouldn't know what hit them.

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