So, if you follow the Checkers or Hurricanes on Twitter, you probably heard about the Seventeen / Cosmogirl promo the magazine is doing with Jeff Skinner, where fans get to vote on what suit Skinner is going to wear to the NHL awards later this month. As an adult who is probably twice the target age of Seventeen magazine’s readership, sure, the article is a bit cheesy and immature, but I’m not a 15 year old girl who likes looking at “cute guys” and talking about fashion. That is who this promo is for. And it’s a GREAT way to get new fans. I would guess, that if I still had any copies of SEVENTEEN magazine from 15 years ago, or Bop or whatever magazines I read when I was 14 or 15 years old, the style of journalism would be right on par with what was written about Jeff Skinner.
Apparently, “real” fans are posting nasty comments on the article, or on the Hurricanes facebook page. They fear these new fans who think Jeff Skinner is a “hot guy” are going to vault them self into puck bunnies and potentially destroy the sport of hockey. I don’t believe this is the case. I do believe, that these new fans could bring money into a southern hockey team, in a non-traditional market, which is NEVER a bad thing, especially when cities like Atlanta just had their franchise ripped right out from under them due to lack of fan interest. They will buy t-shirts, tickets and jerseys, and pay attention to a new sport and give it exposure that it always needs. How is this a bad thing? And maybe these young girls will grow to understand the sport, want to play it, and inspire other people to become fans as well?
I hate the term puck bunny. I hate that it’s this broad term that doesn’t truly describe or define a specific type of fan, but is instead used to demean female hockey fans of all kinds. To one person, a puckbunny is one of those girls who does everything they can to get in a players pants. You know the type…. they find out where players hang out, and try and date/sleep with/whatever, and many of them are successful. To another person, a puckbunny is a young girl who goes to games to see the “cute” players, but who’s interest is relatively innocent. We’ve all seen plenty of these girls at games as well, and I’m sure many readers have referred to them as puck bunnies.
So now, because Skinner is the focus of this promotion, fans are saying Seventeen magazine is going to inspire a new crop of puck bunnies to come to games who are only there for the “hot guys.” Is that really a terrible thing? Sure, I’d rather they not sit behind me and distract me from my enjoyment of the action on the ice, but if they are truly open to the experience, it won’t take them long to realize what an INCREDIBLE sport ice hockey is, and how much fun it is to watch, experience and participate in. I try and be a fan ambassador to the team. I know what a great thing we have in Charlotte, and while I’m not employed or compensated in any way, shape or form by the team, I do anything and everything I can to get more fans to the games. I’ve so far convinced four of my friends to buy season tickets for next year, none of whom had ever been to a Checkers game prior to this past season. We ALL have to find new ways to market and inspire new fans and customers, and Seventeen magazine is a GREAT avenue for this. Come on, Checkers fans… what would you rather see? A few dozen teenage girls who think Justin Faulk is DREAMY with his long hair flowing behind him as he skates, or a gaggle of Girl Scouts or NASCAR night fans who want to do the wave during overtime, don’t pay attention to anything on the ice, and distract ME from the game? I’ll take the teenage girls, anytime, because at least they are there to see the athletes!
I hate being accused of being a puck bunny. I hate how idiotic it is to accuse another person of being a puck bunny, based on their gender and enjoyment of the sport of hockey. I can assure you, that just because I am a female hockey fan, it does not discredit my status as a fan one bit. I assure you, if you want to discuss statistics, history, the culture of the sport, rules of the game, etc., you will be hard pressed to know more than I do. Sure, I may make occasional joking comments about how nice Nicolas Blanchard looks with or without his teeth, or how the leading actor in Score, a Hockey Musical reminds me of Jeff Skinner, but nine times out of ten, I’m joking. And as far as I’m concerned, if male fans are given the opportunity to comment on the racks of the Checkmates, or how nice their pants accentuate the ladies camel toes, then my occasional comments about players make me no less of a fan.
So I’m sorry if you don’t approve of Jeff Skinner being called a “cute guy” who is going to look “hot” at the NHL awards, and is the Justin Bieber of hockey. I do believe some of his teammates in Raleigh posted a picture of Justin Bieber in his dressing room stall. He’s been compared to Justin Bieber, or referred to as “sk8erboi ” on twitter. He’s a barely-19 year old professional athlete. He is an adorable dimpled, smiling hockey player, who presents himself incredibly well in interviews, has a fantastic back story about his road to the NHL, was the youngest NHL All-Star, and has already reached superstar status after only one year in the league. There is NOTHING bad about him getting more exposure for himself, for the NHL, and for the Carolina Hurricanes. The last 18 year old superstar I can recall is a kid named Sidney Crosby…. and look what he’s done for the Penguins. He helped save that team, and they have sold out nearly every game in Pittsburgh since he started playing.
So instead of being disgusted by a promo geared towards 14 year old girls, how about we look at it as a great way to help our sport grow! I know we all hate bandwagon fans, but the bottom line is they are good for the sport as a whole, and those of us who have been there since day one can be proud of that fact!