Thursday, July 15, 2010

Women & Hockey part 1: Understanding the female hockey fan: An introduction

After polling a number of female hockey fans, it is possible to draw one main conclusion: there is no typical mold to fit female hockey fans into.

Like their male counterparts, female hockey fans are very passionate about their sport. While there is a small minority who fall into the "puckbunny" category, the majority take the sport seriously. They can quote you on par - or better - with the men when it comes to stats, skills, and obscure factoids. They can discuss skating styles, puck handling, know the difference between fore and backchecking.

Female hockey fans come in all ages, sizes, styles. You've got 70-year-old grandmas who learned the sport at their father's knees. You've got teenagers who play hockey with their brothers. You've got moms and widowers and singletons; students and office workers. 

The younger the female fan, the greater the likelihood that she's played some form of competitive ice or street hockey herself. Those 35+ may have played field hockey instead.

In short, the same kind of diversity and passion as you'll find among male hockey fans.

And almost every single one of them can tell you they have had men not take their hockey passion seriously at some point.

Female sport fans have long fought for equal footing, whether it's to be able to play the sport they love, or to be a sports reporter taken seriously for what they bring to the table beyond a perky smile, or just to have their opinions equally regarded.

Maybe it's because women will talk about a lot more than simple statistics or style of play. Men aren't going to discuss who's the hottest player on the team or squeal over a rookie's smile, so they end up dismissing the other opinions that may go with it. It's just natural for women to want to discuss as many aspects of sports as possible. But it doesn't mean they aren't serious about their sports.

Women don't want to be stereotyped when it comes to sports. Those who want pink or sparkling sports gear are far fewer than those who would simply prefer that the NHL and other sports gear providers create gear that has team colors, but cut in more "female-friendly" styles and sizes (i.e., bigger in the bust; designed for curves; women's plus sizes).

Having collected a lot of very interesting stories and opinions, I'm going to share these interviews with you over a few days. I want them to each get attention on their own; I don't want half the stories to get lost within a much longer article.

Earlier this week, I got one of the best compliments possible. "Seriously refreshing to see a girl who knows alot about the sport!" wrote one of my followers on Twitter. "I learn more about the Hawks that I didn't know... because of your blog. To me, it doesn't matter that you're a female!" 

More female sports fans should be taken the same way. It doesn't matter whether they carry the X or Y chromosome, a fan is a fan.

to be continued....



  1. I've been waiting excitedly to see how the poll results turned out! Can't wait to see the other articles this week!

  2. Good article. Women can be great fans. They understand the game, buy merchandise and tickets and can really be big supporters of a team and its players.
    Looking forward to reading the individual stories.


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