Today I was sent a link to yet another story about the potential relocation of the Coyotes or Thrashers to
I would like for there to be an NHL team in the city of
Of course, I’d also like for there to be an NHL team in
See, that’s the difference between me and the "many" vocal fans (probably just a few hundred obnoxious ones) begging the NHL to move a team to
I was born and raised in
Despite not growing up with it, I’m a huge hockey fan now. It’s not because I grew up or lived in a great hockey city: I wasn’t a hockey fan until after the lockout nearly 10 years after I moved to
I don’t really remember my first-ever Thrashers game. I want to say it was a 3-1 loss to the Islanders sometime before the lockout, but to be honest, I can’t recall. I do remember my second Thrashers game. It was 2005-2006 and the Thrashers got absolutely demolished by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The score was 9-1. I had a BLAST.
When you can go to a game and watch your team get killed that badly and still enjoy it, it says a lot. That season, I went to maybe a half-dozen more games. In 2006-2007, I probably went to 20 or 25. In 2007-2008, I had season tickets and have had them ever since. That said, it’s certainly easier to make new hockey fans with a winning hockey team and that’s something
Hockey has become more than just something I enjoy, it’s become a part of my life. I started blogging toward the end of 2009 and joined this site that summer. I’ve been able to interview coaches and players and attend games as a pseudo-member of the press. I’ve made friends and developed relationships with people I once only admired from a distance. Recently, I even played my first game. (Yeah, I was terrible, but I’ll keep at it.) Hockey is a big part of who I am.
This feeling isn’t unique to me. I know many other fans – many here in
This is what makes me different from this small group of rather vocal fans in
As a hockey fan, I know the importance the game has in my life and in the lives of others. I wouldn’t dream of ripping that away. And yet there are hundreds - they'd say thousands - of eager hockey fans in
Hockey, I thought, was a sport with a code for players and fans alike. Unlike, say, football, you don’t stand most of the game. Unlike baseball, you don’t get drunk and talk to your friends all game. Unlike basically every other sport out there, you don’t enter or leave the stands while the game is in play. Hockey is characterized by a politeness, even to fans of other teams (exception: Flyers fans… asking them to behave is like asking your dog to kindly leave the pot roast alone while you leave the room for a few minutes.) I’ve visited a few out-of-town NHL arenas to cheer on the Thrashers, and I’ve always been pleasantly surprised at how friendly the fans are to a dude in the other team’s jersey:
That’s not to say there wasn’t some smack talk, of course. But it was civil.
None of these fans have suggested I don’t deserve a team. That’d be a violation of the code. It’s like hitting on your best friend’s girlfriend: you don’t do that. (You do that, you’re just some English pig…) Even if they’re not getting along so well right now. Hell, especially if they’re not getting along so well right now. This seems to be something the Peg-heads don't understand.
Perhaps they’ve forgotten the pain they felt when the lost the Jets. I find this a little hard to believe: they sure seem to talk about it a lot. If they remember how terrible it is, though, how can they be so willing to inflict that pain on others? It’s like responding to a beloved pet’s death by stealing your neighbor’s pet. Sorry: I’ve got mine. Or yours, rather, but now it's mine.
Of course, if
Why is it that so few people challenge
I’d like to buy a billboard along the highway in
It takes more than an arena and ticket sales to run a successful hockey team. You need players willing to live in your city. Remember, hockey players are ordinary people. They have families. Imagine the conversation a player might have with his wife:
"Hey honey, I’m thinking about signing in
! What are your thoughts?" Winnipeg
"I’m thinking of a seven-letter word that starts with a ‘D’ and rhymes with ‘the Force.’"
Again, I don’t doubt the passion of
But then again, it doesn’t matter whether I think
In general, it’s a good idea to just Ignore The Trolls. I manage that pretty well, but it’s when this recycled relocation story pops up on mainstream news sites that I get roped into it. In fact, that’s the whole reason I felt it necessary to write this blog: a short, nearly meaningless story on TSN.
Yes, TSN ran a story (written by TSN Staff – oh, anonymity!) devoid of any real information, much less any new information. "Oh, the Coyotes might move to Winnipeg, but if they don’t, maybe the Thrashers," says Winnipeg’s mayor. It’s the same story we’ve seen for months, if not years, in the Winnipeg papers. It’s the same story that gets picked up by blogs when they want a little extra traffic.
NEWS FLASH: WINNIPEG'S MAYOR THINKS WINNIPEG WILL GET A TEAM. RESIDENTS OF WINNIPEG HOPEFUL.
The TSN story was like something a
Still, you’ve got to get traffic, right? [Am I guilty of this? Hell yes. But this is a blog, not a respected news site.]
It’s like there’s a set of instructions somewhere on the internet that say this:
Hey you! Want more traffic to your hockey blog? Write a story about the potential return of the Jets to
! Just be sure to mention Winnipeg and Phoenix having troubles, no need to learn or mention any specifics. Adding a reference to True North will help your search rankings. Point to "information" from "sources" – it’s okay, there’s no way anybody can check. Whatever you do, don’t quote the many actual sources who have stressed that it’s unlikely. Lastly, make sure to get the Atlanta folks on Twitter to notice and voila! Winnipeg
It’s sad, but it works. I mean, let’s take something I really want – to make out with Zooey Deschanel, for example – and imagine that people kept writing blogs saying, "Sources claim Zooey Deschanel likes overweight 20-something hockey bloggers." "Making out with Tim? Something Zooey Deschanel might do as soon as next year."
I’d read those blogs. After a couple years, I might even start to believe it. That seems to be the situation here: rumors led to attention, attention meant those rumors count as news, news drew even more attention. The bar for what counts as "news" has been dramatically lowered. Run-of-the-mill blogs run by Winnipeg fans get a pass on this. It’s to be expected. TSN should not.
There’s nothing I can do or say to change the behavior of
Stop following them. Stop retweeting them. Stop sending links to these rumor-mongering stories. Don’t talk about it here or on social media sites. Don’t comment on the stories. Don’t comment on this story. ("Turn off your TV set!") Ignore the trolls. They won’t go away, but I’m tired of giving them the attention.
There’s no reason to make these fantasies an actual news story. Let’s be done with it.