The one about Jeff Skinner and Seventeen magazine, and why it’s a GREAT thing

Jeff Skinner on the red carpet at the ASG in Raleigh this year. For the record, I think this purple tie is MUCH better than the choices in the Seventeen contest! Photo Credit: Jenni Propst

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!


12 thoughts on “The one about Jeff Skinner and Seventeen magazine, and why it’s a GREAT thing

  1. I can certainly see your point of view, and I like that Skinner is bringing a new demographic of fans to hockey. I guess I just dislike these magazines and what they teach young people about what’s important. Too superficial, I suppose. It’s all about the cute and the hot, when we’d all do so much better if we could see more than that. And maybe teens wouldn’t have such a hard time if the message being sent to them 24/7 wasn’t “appearances are everything and nothing else matters nearly as much. If you’re not ‘hot,’ you’re nobody.” I was an extremely shy kid with awful skin who had pretty much no self esteem ’til I was almost 30, so maybe I’m just bitter.

    That being said, I read Seventeen back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, and occasionally indulged in a Bop or Teen Beat too, and I turned out OK eventually. And as I posted on Twitter, it was a cute player who drew me into the sport in my younger years. I love hockey. I get super-attached to “my” teams and perhaps a bit over-protective of “my” guys. I’m the same with my friends and my family – and sometimes I just have to remind myself that they can and will take care of themselves. Skinner’s got his family and his team and the Hurricanes staff looking out for him so I probably just ought to sit down and let them do their thing. 🙂

    1. I’m a feminist at heart. Deep down, I hate this kind of objectifying of anything (it’s why I dislike hockey cheerleaders who dress in as little as possible and show as much of their skin as possible) because it’s objectifying, but I think this promo is harmless. Skinner is a good kid, and he’s got the right people watching his back. Thanks for your feedback though. I know I’d probably only let my daughter subscribe to a magazine like that if she also subscribed to something substantial to balance out the fluff!

    2. I am older than 30 *cough*cough* and I am still working on my non-existent self esteem. And I really have issues with the pre-occupation of people on looks and weight etc. for people to be valued. I always say no one says “Hey check out the personality on that girl!” But this doesn’t bother me. I guess I just think it is pretty innocent. And I am FIERCELY protective of “my boys.” I know they are NOT mine! But yeah I am one of those people.

      And I also think since I know about our boy Skinny I know he is much more than a “pretty face.” Maybe because I am looking at him as someone young enough to be my kid I see it as more innocent. If it was someone like Brandon Sutter posing with an actress or model it would make me role me eyes and get frustrated. I dunno. Just has a different feel to me.

      Ok now I am going off in the corner to work on my own issues! (and yeah…I have my own versions of bitter too…being a girl is hard sometimes.)

  2. I could go on for DAYS about this, but I won’t. Ok maybe just hours. This isn’t going to be well written because honestly I have a very lengthy diatribe I have been working on about this and this is all over the place. Trying not to bore you to tears. But here goes…

    I am NOT a puck bunny and get fired up about the topic. I am a very knowledgeable fan of many sports. My goal is not to sleep with the players (Um duh they are taking any of THIS action anyway). But if you want me to say I don’t have crushes on any of the players that would be a LIE. I am sort of known by my friends for my crushes. Yep. I just outed myself. I love men. Adore them. I love hockey players. And I swoon over some of them. But I know what the hell I am talking about.

    And I have always been like this. BOY CRAZY. Did I really think that Tony Dorsett and I were going to get married when I grew up? No. But I still loved watching the Cowboys and checking out that smile (And no I am NOT a Cowboys fan anymore!) And if I was a teenage girl I would be Jeff Skinner crazy. And I see nothing wrong with that! Jeff Skinner is ADORABLE. Granted I was sort of surprised that the Canes did the promotion with him and the magazine but I looked at it and it’s harmless. And yeah they call him “hot.” If I was a teen that would be the word I would use. I personally think #sk8rboi or however it was spelled was more demeaning. Because to me that is downplaying his talent and skill and is sillier. But damn. The kid is CUTE. And awesome. And to me what he brings to hockey is intangible. And I am not convinced that every teen girl out there is going to catch Skinnermania. But there are some girls that might watch because he is cute and then get hooked. He appeals to young girls…kids in general. He is cute and modest and says cute little Canadian things like “Fer sure.” He is clean cut and a great role model.

    So yeah I grew up tearing posters out of Tiger Beat (Dear GOD I had a Scott Baio poster in my room…I am old) and had them plastered all over my room. AND I read my dad’s Sports Illustrated mags and totally crushed on the guys in it. But I also READ THE ARTICLES! And I watched sports and knew about them. And if I had gotten my Seventeen mag and it had one of my sports dudes in it I would have flipped!

    Again sorry…all over the place here. But I think Jeff Skinner is good for kids. I think Jeff Skinner is good for hockey. And teen girls can become hockey fans. He brings new people to the sport. And maybe one of those girls that thinks he is “hot” will become a fan like me. And grow up to buy jerseys and tickets and write about sports and want every one she meets to love hockey. And yeah people come up to me and say “I saw your hockey husband on tv last night.” And they also come up to me and say “So do you think that hit on Horton was a Rule 48 hit?” And I still have to explain the collective bargaining agreement and salary cap to my brother. But he still has to hear me say that I think Sidney Crosby has a great ass. And that doesn’t make me less of a fan. It just makes me a girl.

  3. Oh and I would take the teens loving Faulker rocking his flow over the people that only showed up because it’s $1 hot dog night and they just want to get on the jumbotron any day. They might pay attention. They might cheer. And then they might come back again.

    1. THANK YOU for your comments…. though, I am NOT going to thank you for making me think about the fact that in theory, I could also be old enough to be Justin Faulk’s mom, which is scary, and I would have been a very young teen mom, but still.

      You are right on. We need to embrace these new fans, and maybe help steer them in the right way… I’ll loan them my AHL rule book and teach them the basics of the sport if they will listen. This is good PR for the Hurricanes organization! I’m excited for them.

  4. I have a teen mom rule. If I could have been your team mom then you are probably off limits. My dad likes to keep me informed. He goes through the program and tells me which of the players that could be my sons. It’s NOT amusing! Oh yeah. When you have a dad like mine it’s lovely. It goes like this :

    Esbee: YES! I am not old enough to be Eric Staal’s mother! WOO HOO!
    Dad: But you are old enough to be Jared’s.
    Esbee: SHUT UP DAD.

    Oh and I took my almost 11YO cousin on jeff skinner wall cling night. And she took her cling and knows Jeff but she spent the ENTIRE game like this with me on one side and her mom, a former soccer player on the other:

    Esbee:Ok that was the faceoff. Watch them drop the puck.
    10YO: What was that?
    10YO’s MOM: Offsides. Man got there before the puck.
    10YO: What was that?
    Esbee: Slashing
    10YOs MOM: Using your stick a weapon.

    10YO’s MOM: Ok where does he go for a penalty?
    10YO: To the box.

    She asked questions the whole time to the point my ears were about to bleed. But she asked ABOUT THE GAME! What does that mean? On all the calls. We taught her how log a shift was and how they roll lines. She was really trying to follow the game. And she remembered it last time I talked to her. It can be done! She sat next to me because she COULD ask me. And yes I was worn out but I will do it again as many times as she wants. She wanted to learn .

    1. And that is why this seventeen promotion has a lot of potential!

      Also, I suppose I’m old enough to be Jared’s mom, but when he would have been conceived, I was too enamored by the New Kids on the Block to pay attention to anything else!

      1. Oh and EVERYONE in the arena tried to get her on the Skinner train. She left a devoted Jussi Jokkinen fan!

  5. I just happened to find this article and even though I’m a Caps fan, ill be moving to Carolina this fall for college. I have to weight in: Do I think hockey players are cute? Absolutely, but is that the reason I watch the game? No, I watch it because its an awesome sport and its a great sport culture. Just because a girl finds a player attractive doesn’t mean she is less valuable of a fan. In fact, she’s probably more dedicated to her team than that bandwagon idiot who only watches a team when they’re successful( sooo many Caps “fans” I know) and couldn’t define a Gordie Howe hat trick to save their life.

  6. Thanks for the comment! Good luck at Carolina in the fall. I know the Canes aren’t your Caps, but they are a lot of fun to watch (though, I must admit, I much prefer the AHL Checkers in Charlotte to any team in the NHL!)

    I love Gordie Howe hat tricks… I must say, there’s not much sexier than a guy who can score AND fight!

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