I had a friend of mine link me to this article over at Yahoo from a freelance writer:
"The Detroit Red Wings: Why I hate this obnoxious hockey team."
Go ahead and read it.
For a split moment, I thought about making a rebuttal at my legitimate hockey writing job, but decided that maybe I'll just do it here instead. All I plan on doing is highlighting points of it, okay? Okay, let's go.
"The Detroit Red Wings are the Stars Western Conference rivals; around here we call them the "Dead Things" or "Dead Wings.""
1. The Wings may be the Stars' WC rivals, but the Stars aren't the Wings' WC rivals. That would be Colorado for the better part of the 90s and 2000s, and lately it's been Chicago. And sometimes Nashville [Nashville usually in the playoffs].
2. We haven't been called "Dead Wings" since the 1980s, at least by the majority of hockey fandom.
"Mike Modano is a Detroit Red Wing."
Well, yes, he is. And I'm sorry that he had to leave Dallas, especially since he's such an iconic player for that entire franchise. But is it our fault that the Stars decided they wanted to take another direction and had to let him go? Is it our fault that he's from the Detroit area? That he has a hockey arena in the area named after him? That he decided to choose his original home to finish his career?
The answer is no to all of those questions. I'm sorry that you hate us so much and I'm sorry you have to see Modano in a Winged Wheel, but that's something you have to live with because of your organization's choices. And maybe it'll work out.
"The Detroit Red Wings are the New York Yankees of the NHL."
I've always hated this comparison.
"The Detroit Red Wings are arrogant."
An excerpt: "They prance on the ice and are smug off of it. Most of the Detroit players are self-important nit-wits. I can't stand watching them play, or give interviews or breathe; they are jerks."
Don't make assumptions about players just because you hate the whole team. I hate Sidney Crosby with a passion, but I've been told that off the ice he is nice and moderately humble. I wouldn't doubt it.
Most hockey players are pretty humble, so assuming that an entire franchise's team is made up of "self-important nit-wits" and "jerks" is a pretty big statement to make, especially basing it off of their play. And come on, have you ever read an interview with Datsyuk? He's freaking hilarious! [And likes to fish. But that's another story.]
I've fortunately had the opportunity to meet/have conversations [or at least interaction] with Wings players. Brett Lebda likes to swear casually and poke fun at his team mates; Brian Rafalski was talking to me about Halloween costumes for five minutes because I mentioned I was Zetterberg for Halloween last year; Niklas Kronwall was ridiculously happy and impressed with my Kronwall totebag [he apparently had no idea they existed and in his words, "It could be really useful, you know, on the road."]; Patrick Eaves was crazy concerned when I told him I fell on the ice while skating; and Val Filppula kept assuring me it was totally okay for me to ask for his signature since I kept apologizing while he signed my puck [hey, I felt bad for interrupting his dessert].
Even walking up to players and asking for a picture, I've never been turned down. These guys don't get bombarded by crazy, rabid fans, which is why they're so lenient and pretty friendly. That may also have to do with their personalities.
"Detroit Red Wings play boring hockey."
Excerpt: "Watching the Red Wings play is like watching a bunch of boring robots skate around the ice."
WHO TOLD HER LIDSTROM'S A ROBOT?! THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET, PEOPLE.
Apparently she hasn't seen anyone get Kronwalled. Or watched Datsyuk and Zetterberg do their magic thing. I will admit there are some boring games, but that can be said for any team.
And the last paragraph:
"The Red Wings fans are some of the least knowledgeable, obnoxious, arrogant group of wannabe hockey fans I've ever had the displeasure of meeting. They are more interested in getting drunk at the games than to actually watch the game. I guess if my team was as boring as Detroit's I would just drink instead too. When the fans are good and drunk and want to show their Red Wings some love, they throw Octopus out onto the ice. Sometimes the octopus is alive, sometimes it isn't; either way, it's just another stupid thing Detroit Red Wings fans do. I hate the Detroit Red Wings and their obnoxious fans. The Red Wings have the worst hockey fans and the worst hockey team."
Apparently "tradition" isn't a word in her vocabulary [or Gary Bettman's, for that matter.]
Every hockey team has their drunk fans, their obnoxious fans, their annoying fans. Anyone I have ever sat by in a Wings game has always started talking stats with me and discussing things that are happening in the game or happened in previous games or what we think is going to happen. Rarely have they ever had more than one glass of beer. And I'm sitting in the upper rows of the upper bowl in the cheap seats.
Wings fans know their hockey. Yeah, you get the loudmouth fans who doesn't know anything [like that one guy who was complaining that the person sitting next to them loved Holmstrom], but an entire fan base being like that is pretty rare. I know fellow Wings fans will point at Hawks fans and Penguins fans, but I know better. I know decent fans of both those teams [and some terrible ones, too, don't get me wrong] and heck, the internet isn't the best place to meet thousands of amazing fans of teams you hate.
Wings fans are passionate about their hockey. Really passionate. It's because we're so close to Canada. Those people rub off on you pretty easy. So being overly passionate about our team apparently makes us look arrogant. And that's because we usually know our facts.
You want to meet good, cool fans that know their stuff? Make a comment about their NHL shirt or hat when you see them and start up a conversation. I do that every time I'm in Disney World and it's always so much fun. I high-fived a guy in a Whalers jersey at the Magic Kingdom. I also got some compliments on my Kronwall bag. Hell, I had a guy seating my family at the "Finding Nemo" musical in the Animal Kingdom who said he was a Bruins fan. His response when he saw our Wings attire? This:
"Uh oh. You guys are wings fans. We can't seat you up front even if you DO have an autographed hat! You have to be a Boston Bruins fan. But you're Original Six, so we'll let it slide."
He seated us in the "penalty box," and then put Stars fans next to us and some Caps fans across the row. I love hockey stories from Disney. They always stick with me.
I know the writer of said article was probably looking for a response like mine just to get some attention and normally I don't tend to voice my opinion on anything, but the part insulting the players and saying they're jerks really got to me. To be fortunate enough to meet the players and see that they aren't arrogant like other athletes makes me feel as though I have to defend their humanity to people that assume otherwise.
You know the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover"? Don't do that. Get informed before you post something for the whole internet to see.