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First One That Calls Me a Puckbunny, Pow. Right In the Kisser.

June 2, 2010

So the Daily Beast posted a column discussing why the NHL has seen such a dramatic increase in the number of female fans. They provide some pretty compelling stats backing up their claim. Female viewership for this year’s playoffs is up 8%, the highest level that it’s been since 1997.  This normally would be a good thing, right? Yes, but the argument used to support this increase is completely out there.

So what exactly is the author’s justification for this increase? The game is exciting and easy to follow? Nope. Female fans probably grew up in the game or watching the game with their fathers? Not even close.   The  increase in women’s hockey programs has grown interest in the sport? Sorry, please try again.

Instead, the author claims that it’s because the hockey players are hot and are now suddenly tabloid darlings due to the relationships that Comrie and Fisher have with Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood and the tabloid/fashion antics of Sean Avery.

Really? You’re kidding me, right? I know that US Weekly and the other tabs are the first place I go to check out hockey news.

Do I deny that hockey players are hot? No. In fact, they’re quite nice to look at both on and off the ice. But that’s not why I watch the game. I watch the game because it’s easy to follow. It’s just pass, shoot, score. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Add in some fantastic goalie play and you’ve got a great back and forth sport that keeps fans on the edge of their seats. Throw in historic rivalries, tradition and a set of teams that seem to understand how to connect with their fans, and it’s a win/win situation. Hockey fandom shouldn’t have a gender, but it sadly does. Exhibit A is the popularity of the “pink” line of  ladies apparel and the NHL’s introduction of some uh…interesting products for the ladies (Does anyone really need a Sabres print thong?).

I guess what also has my irish in an uproar is that the NHL re-tweeted this story. Is any publicity good publicity? To a certain extent, yes. But at the same time, the league needs to be careful about alienating a significant chunk of its fanbase. Labeling female hockey fans with the “they just watch the game because they think the players are hot and want a sparkly diamond ring from one of them” is a dangerous path to take.

Thoughts?

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13 comments

  1. Sigh…unfortunately the double standard of being a female sports fan will always exist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to jump in on a hockey discussion, only to have my opinon shut down or laughed at because I’m a girl so clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about…although more times than not, I know more than the men. And being a woman, well… OF COURSE I’m going to think some of the hockey players are hot and it makes it more fun. But really, if I was just in for the hot guys, then I wouldn’t dedicate so much of my time, money, and emotions into the game.

    It can definitely be annoying at times to not be taken seriously, but there are also a lot of guys out there who appreciate and recognize the fact that there are female hockey fans who are knowledgable and aren’t watching it just to get a glimpse of the good looking players.

    I also learned to sort of poke fun at it…a few years ago I was a puck bunny for Halloween (covered the last name on my jersey with the words “Puck Bunny” and wore rabbit ears and a rabbit tail), just because I sort of get tired of having to “defend” myself as a female hockey fan. At the end of the day, I really don’t have to prove myself to anyone, you know?


  2. If hockey players are handing out sparkly diamond rings, I will certainly take one. But just the ring, please. And maybe tickets. Ok, I’ll take a naked team photo as well.


  3. Caroline, I love the idea of a puckbunny Halloween costume.

    Anne, I love your wish list.


  4. Hey, don’t hate on my thong! *rolling eyes* And yes, sign me up for the wish list.


  5. It’s just sickening and sad, really. But I guess it also shows the ignorance of people. Because honestly, if we were just in it for the men, wouldn’t we pick a sport where we could actually SEE the players faces? Like tennis or basketball? I mean wow. Sure, I’m the first one to admit that many hockey players are good lookin fellas. So are guys I see on the street. I like to look at attractive men.

    However, hockey’s “attractive men” are covered in layers of equipment, helmets and often face visors. We don’t get to see much of them. So that just doesn’t fly. Sorry.

    And as for the sparkly ring thing- well do females watch football because of Jessica Simpson? Stupid argument.

    I hate pink jerseys (unless it’s special breast cancer awareness thing) and I don’t even want to talk about the team thongs. *shudder*

    I don’t much care what the media says. I will continue to watch hockey because it’s the most amazing sport in the world. I love the speed, the skill, the hitting, the personalities, the history, the rivalries, the intensity, the forever-long season, and of course, the Trophy that comes at the end of it all.


  6. The sound of the puck cracking off the glass. No bad seats. Cuz it’s fun when someone gets a smushie!

    Oh yeah and hot guys.

    Don’t own any pink merch. Wouldn’t buy it.


  7. Why is it wrong for women to love the sport of hockey and still be able to admit that there are some really handsome guys that play but it’s completely ok for men to ogle women who play women’s sports? Example- how many men are watching beach volleyball for the sport? I’m pretty sure most of them watch to see Misty May Trainer and Keri Walsh jump around in barely there bikinis and slap each other on the butt whe nthey congratulate each other. I have never slapped on of my GF’s bums when they’ve done something well especially if they are only partially clothed:)

    Hockey is an amazing sport and just because I have a few hockey “boyfriends” doesn’t mean that I’m a puckbunny in any way. There are plenty of downright ugly hockey players out there and I still watch them play because they are doing something that I can never hope to do and it’s beautiful to watch.

    Sorry so long. I’ve been reading for awhile now but never replyed before but this article is just plain stupid!


  8. Naturally it wasn’t a woman who wrote the article in The Daily Beast.

    Also, Mike Comrie. Blech.


  9. Wait, I just finished the article. Patrick Kane is good looking and articulate? What?


  10. Patrick Kane is good looking and articulate? What?

    That guy really seemed to know his stuff then I read that. Credibility – GONE! ;)

    The fact that he dismissed the possibility of women understanding the sport and liking hockey for hockey-reasons was insulting, sure. But this was actually much worse than the usual “hockey players are hot ergo women like them”. No, now it’s “hockey players are now endorsed by pop media and they’ve got lots of cash to buy big shiny things, so now TPTB have decided hockey is female-friendly.” I think the latter is about 200 times more insulting than the former.

    (Great, now I’m going to be in a feminist mood all day.)


  11. The rules of hockey are way less byzantine than football, that is really appealing, and they don’t stop every two seconds of play.

    Puck bunnies love “cute” guys, the stars. Serious ladies equally love the muckers and grinders. I mean really, what was hotter than Mike Grier throwing himself in front of that puck?


  12. I re-read that part of the article calling Kane attractive. When you list him in comparison to Toews, Cammalleri and Parise, one of those things is definitely not like the other. Maybe they meant “boyish” instead of attractive.

    kitten, I’d agree. Muckers and grinders are where it’s at. I love hearing about those guys who aren’t exactly the most talented make up for their lack of talent with heart, guts and a killer work ethic. That’s what’s hot.


  13. Muckers and grinders are where it’s at. I love hearing about those guys who aren’t exactly the most talented make up for their lack of talent with heart, guts and a killer work ethic.

    It always seems like the checkers are more, erm, cerebral than the skilliest guys. (Of the forwards. D-men generally seem like they have a little more going on upstairs than the guys in front. Goalies… um, are too wacky to measure in the same terms.) Goose, of course, is practically perfect in every way, but Grier, Mair, and Ellis seem reasonably intelligent in their interviews. Tim Connolly… less smart. Derek Roy? Not smart at all. (My sample size for this hypothesis is HUGE.)



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