I think as hockey fans, we've all experienced it. The tiresome, whining and crying about how ESPN doesn't acknowledge the NHL like it used to. Does it suck? Hell yeah, it sucks. I'm not going to go on a tear saying that this sport is the best, because that's just a matter of opinion. Whenever I see ESPN post a tweet about something hockey-related, it's almost like clockwork: NHL fans pissing and moaning over how they never talk about hockey. Usually they choose to put together some whimsical crack at LeBron James, or Mike Trout. It was funny at first, but lately I've seen some weird stuff going on. Some of the same folks who complain about the NHL not being nationally recognized by larger sports media outlets, are now disuniting people who are joining in for the playoffs calling them "bandwagoners." Why?
Is it insecurities? Is it humor? I really can't tell. The narrative of "Please Like My Sport" is one of the funniest things that has happened to Hockey Twitter. But the thing is, it's real. Why do so many beg and plead for hockey to be recognized as the "superior sport" yet when someone decides, "Hey I'm gonna watch the Stanley Cup Finals to see what this is all about" they're basically discarded to the bandwagon?
If you ask me, I welcome all fans. Even if you decide to only watch game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals (sorry Kings and Rangers fans), I think that's awesome. Why? Because I know that you'll like it, and you'll come back for more. I won't call hockey the superior of sports, but it is certainly the fastest. It keeps you on your toes, and at the edge of your seat. Hell, cheer for the heavy favorited team. Go out, buy a sweater and a hat, wear it around. Who cares if you're wearing an Anze Kopitar sweater when you live in Chicago?
I'm a die-hard Red Wings fan, but I love watching every team play. I have a favorite player from each team, and that's the way it should be if you like something. I own multiple pieces of merchandise from an array of NHL teams, new and old.
I recently became more active in watching and following baseball in the past couple of years. Oddly enough I fell into it when the Detroit Tigers were making a deep run into the World Series.. Not once was I ousted as a bandwagon fan.
Note to insecure hockey fans: It's okay. People can watch casually and not ruin the sanctity of your favorite NHL team.
It's okay if I own a Henrik Lundqvist jersey, even though I'm not a New York Rangers fan.