Hockey fan etiquette, from how to dress to how to heckle
You're just attending the game, but trust us, there are rules
This article was originally published October 27, 2017.
Whether you're an avid fan ready to drop your life savings on season tickets or your job hooks you up because they like your gumption, chances are you'll attend at least one hockey game this season. If you've been watching for decades or have never seen a whole game before, we could all be better fans inside the arena, so there's some etiquette you should brush up on before you go.
Dress For Your Team (or not at all)
Hockey fashion can be very controversial, so short of painting your face and chest, there are some rules to follow. If you're going to wear team apparel, make sure it's one of the two teams that are in the game (leave your 1982 Hartford Whalers jersey in the closet, it's time to move on). If you don't have any, don't bother - we can tell when you stole your uncle's Leafs hat - and just dress to stay comfortable and somewhat warm (though you can always spruce it up CBC style).
Don't Bang On The Glass
If you can't do it at an aquarium, you shouldn't do it at a hockey game. Behind-the-glass seats are a privilege, a great responsibility to set the example for the entire crowd. You on camera but players can be inches away from your face; not only does banging on the glass make you look like a disgruntled zoo orangutan, but players have enough to worry about with their opponents poking, slashing and checking them, the last thing they need is the "moral support" of clanging hands.
Give Up The Puck
This isn't baseball, so the chances of catching of catching a puck are rare (please don't bring your glove). On the off chance a puck is flipped over the boards in your direction, a bare-handed puck catch is a beautiful thing to behold, sure to earn the adulation of the crowd and plenty of camera time. But if you want to take your heroic moment one step further, maybe give the puck to a kid? Of course you want to put that puck on your mantle for the rest of your life, but what would be better than making a kid's night and getting yourself plenty more applause and camera time?
Keep Your Heckling Witty
It takes a lot of gumption to yell in a crowd, believing everyone around you needs to know your thoughts. Simply yelling "Shoot the puck!" provides little insight (the players are already aware of the object of the game) and "Oh come on, ref!" is not likely something the officials can hear or care about. If you have an amazing one-liner that'll bring the house down, please proceed, otherwise just cheer and react like everyone else. And please don't swear, the kid you gave the puck to will be so disappointed.
No Phone Calls
The beauty of a hockey game is that you can talk freely and text without a scornful reaction. While you shouldn't text the whole night away, you absolutely mustn't have a full fledged conversation on your phone. If your buddy left to buy beer and forgot what section you're in, fine, but no one around you needs to hear the status of your grandmother's psoriasis.
Get Back To Your Seat
Why are the most expensive seats always empty at the beginning of a game? If you're "so busy" you show up that late, maybe don't come at all and give the seats to someone who wants to be there. Get there before the national anthem and, during intermission, if you need a beer and a trip to the bathroom, fine, but be back before the puck drops on the second and third periods. There's ample warm up time and even a clock on the video screen so you have no excuse.
Know When To Leave
A poorly timed exit is more distracting than streaking nowadays. There's always one guy in the middle of a row who decides to clumsily squeeze by everyone else in the middle of a play causing you to miss that goal. If you want to score a beer, from your seat or the concessions, there's ample time to do it between plays and periods, while returning in the same manner. And if you're one of those "It's 18-2, let's leave now and beat the traffic" people, that never works, just enjoy the game.