Ahh, sports rivalries. As much as we hate them, they make following our favorite teams even more fun, because it’s as much fun to hate the other guy as it is to love your own team. Last season, I must admit, that prior to the playoffs, I didn’t have any real dislike for any other AHL teams, though I did have a couple of teams I followed outside of the Checkers. When the playoffs rolled around, I grew to hate the Hershey Bears. With the exception of some awesome Bloggers, I REALLY hated the Bears, and their terribly rude fans in the stands at the game I attended, calling me name, being rude, etc. The Bears had never bugged me when they came to Charlotte to play, but man, that was a rude, awful group in that Chocolate town for the Playoff game I saw.
In the NHL, I’ve always hated the red wings. See? I can’t even properly capitalize their name! I don’t even remember why I started hating them, but it’s just always been my feeling. Recent events (err, the signing of my favorite player, Mr. Mike Commodore) has made me reconsider the hate. I hated Chris Osgood and his outdated mask, but he’s retired now. I hate their flying wheel logo, but eh, it is a part of NHL history. I hate their stinking octopus throwing, and as one of the Blue Jackets big rivals, I grew to hate them even more. But are any of those reasons worthy of true hate? I mean, if you look up hate in the dictionary (or google it, if like me, you don’t own an actually paper dictionary), it’s a pretty hard core word. Do I really have an extreme aversion to any sports team? Probably not, but it is fun to have those rivals. The rivalries make victories even sweeter (and losses, a bit more dramatically depressing).
With a new set of opponents, and only two that remain from last season, I’m anxious to see who the Checkers biggest rival is going to be. Is it going to be the Milwaukee Admirals, a farm team of the relatively close Nashville Predators? Maybe Oklahoma City, whose Edmonton Oilers parent club lost to the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals a few years ago. Or maybe the IceHogs, who’s mascot vaguely resembles Stormy of the Carolina Hurricanes? It’s too early to tell. In the two “Getting to know…” posts I’ve done, both Peoria AND Milwaukee claim that the Chicago Wolves are their biggest rivals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rockford feels the same way, so maybe the Checkers will fall into line with the rest of the Midwest and hate the Wolves and their Vancouver Canuck parent club. I hope we develop some new rivalries quickly.
Rivalries makes hockey games more fun.