10 Outstanding Facts About the Fanbase of the NHL

10 Facts About NHL

Welcome to our article on 10 fun facts about the passionate fanbase of the National Hockey League (NHL). From wearing team colors to engaging in heated discussions about the latest games and player performances, NHL fans are known for their loyalty and enthusiasm. In this article, we’ll share some interesting and surprising facts about the NHL fanbase that you may not know. So let’s get started!

#1.The origins of the “octopus toss” tradition at Detroit Red Wings games

Octopus toss-tradition of Detroit Red Wings/source image: NHL

The “octopus toss” tradition at Detroit Red Wings games dates back to April 15, 1952, during the team’s playoff run. Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who owned a fish market, threw an octopus onto the ice at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium during a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens.

At the time, there were only six teams in the NHL and the playoffs consisted of two best-of-seven series. The octopus has eight tentacles, and the Cusimano brothers saw this as a symbol of the eight wins it would take for the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings ended up winning that game and the Stanley Cup that year, and the octopus toss became a tradition in Detroit.

The tradition has since become an important part of Red Wings lore, with fans bringing octopuses to games and throwing them onto the ice during important moments, particularly during the playoffs. The NHL has tried to crack down on the tradition in recent years, citing safety concerns and the fact that it delays games, but it remains a beloved tradition for many Red Wings fans.

#2. The unique chants and songs that different fanbases use to show support for their teams

Each NHL team and their fans have their own unique chants and songs to show support for their team, creating a distinct and passionate atmosphere in each arena. Here are a few examples:

  • “Ole, Ole, Ole” – This is a chant that’s commonly heard in NHL arenas, as well as at other sporting events around the world. Fans sing “Ole, Ole, Ole” in a rhythmic pattern to show support for their team. The chant originated in South America but has since been adopted by sports fans in many countries.
  • “Let’s go!” – This is a simple but effective chant that’s commonly used by NHL fans to show support for their team. The fans simply shout “Let’s go (team name)!” in unison, often accompanied by clapping or stomping.
  • “Here we go (team name), here we go!” – This is another simple chant that’s popular among NHL fans. The fans chant “Here we go (team name), here we go!” in a call-and-response pattern, with one side of the arena shouting “Here we go!” and the other side responding with the team name.
  • “Seven Nation Army” – This is a popular song by the White Stripes that’s often played at NHL games, and has become a fan favorite. Fans often chant the song’s guitar riff in unison, creating a powerful and energetic atmosphere in the arena.
  • “The Hockey Song” – This is a classic song by Canadian musician Stompin’ Tom Connors that’s often played at NHL games, especially in Canada. The song celebrates the game of hockey and has become a beloved anthem for fans of the sport.

#3. The history of the “Original Six” teams and the lasting legacy of those franchises

The “Original Six” refers to the six teams that comprised the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1942 to 1967. These teams were the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Here is a brief history of each team and their lasting legacy:

  • Boston Bruins – Founded in 1924, the Bruins were the first American team to join the NHL. They won their first Stanley Cup in 1929 and have since won six more, including in 2011. The Bruins are known for their physical style of play and have had many legendary players over the years, including Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque.
  • Chicago Blackhawks – Founded in 1926, the Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups, including three in the past decade. The team has had many great players over the years, including Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks are also known for their iconic logo, which features a Native American head.
  • Detroit Red Wings – Founded in 1926, the Red Wings are one of the most successful teams in NHL history, with 11 Stanley Cup championships. The team has had many legendary players over the years, including Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. The Red Wings are also known for their passionate and dedicated fan base.
  • Montreal Canadiens – Founded in 1909, the Canadiens are the oldest continuously operating professional ice hockey team in the world. They have won a record 24 Stanley Cups, including five in a row from 1956 to 1960. The Canadiens have had many legendary players over the years, including Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Jean Beliveau.
  • New York Rangers – Founded in 1926, the Rangers have won four Stanley Cups, including in 1994. The team has had many great players over the years, including Mark Messier and Brian Leetch. The Rangers are also known for playing in the historic Madison Square Garden arena.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – Founded in 1917, the Maple Leafs are one of the most iconic and popular teams in the NHL. They have won 13 Stanley Cups, but none since 1967. The team has had many legendary players over the years, including Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin.

The “Original Six” era of the NHL was a time of great tradition and history, and the legacy of these six teams continues to this day. Each team has a passionate fan base and a rich history of success and legendary players. The Original Six teams also laid the foundation for the expansion of the NHL and the growth of the sport of ice hockey in North America.

#4. The tradition of players growing beards during the Stanley Cup playoffs

The tradition of players growing beards during the Stanley Cup playoffs is a unique and enduring part of NHL history. The tradition is believed to have originated in the 1980s with the New York Islanders, who went on to win four consecutive Stanley Cups between 1980 and 1983. During these championship runs, Islanders players grew beards as a sign of their commitment to the team and the playoffs.

Since then, growing a beard during the playoffs has become a common practice among NHL players, with many teams encouraging their players to participate in the tradition. The playoffs are a grueling and demanding time, with players playing every other night and traveling frequently, so growing a beard is often seen as a way to show team unity and toughness.

The playoff beard tradition has become so popular that it has even spread to fans, who often grow beards in support of their team during the playoffs. Some NHL teams have even held playoff beard-growing contests, with fans and players alike competing to see who can grow the best beard during the playoffs.

While the playoff beard tradition is not unique to the NHL, it has become an important part of the league’s culture and history. The sight of a team’s players growing beards during the playoffs is a visual reminder of the intensity and sacrifice required to win the Stanley Cup and a symbol of the camaraderie and brotherhood that exists among NHL players.

#5. The role of mascots in NHL fan culture and the most beloved mascots in the league

image source: NHL

Mascots play an important role in NHL fan culture, serving as lovable and fun ambassadors for their respective teams. Mascots are often present at games and events, entertaining fans, and creating a lively atmosphere in the arena. They also make appearances at schools, hospitals, and other community events, helping to promote the team and the sport of hockey to a wider audience.

Here are some of the most beloved mascots in the NHL:

  • Gritty – Philadelphia Flyers: Gritty is one of the newest mascots in the NHL, having been introduced in 2018. He quickly became a fan favorite, thanks to his wild and quirky personality, and has been credited with helping to reinvigorate the Flyers fan base.
  • Youppi! – Montreal Canadiens: Youppi! was originally the mascot of the Montreal Expos, a now-defunct baseball team, before being adopted by the Canadiens in 2005. He is known for his playful antics, including sliding down the railings of the Bell Centre during games.
  • Wild Wing – Anaheim Ducks: Wild Wing is a lovable and goofy mascot, known for his oversized head and wingspan. He is often seen skating around the arena, pumping up the crowd and tossing souvenirs to fans.
  • Thunderbug – Tampa Bay Lightning: Thunderbug is a lightning bug character who is known for his energetic and mischievous personality. He is often seen performing stunts and tricks during games, such as riding a zamboni or rappelling down from the rafters.
  • Bailey – Los Angeles Kings: Bailey is a lion mascot who has been entertaining Kings fans since 2007. He is known for his high-energy dance routines, and is often seen leading the crowd in cheers and chants.

#6. The superstitions and rituals that fans and players alike believe can bring good luck

Superstitions and rituals are a long-standing tradition in the NHL, with players and fans alike believing in certain actions or behaviors that they think will bring good luck to their team. These superstitions and rituals vary widely, but some of the most common include:
  • Playoff beards: As we discussed earlier, growing a beard during the playoffs is a common superstition among NHL players, believed to bring good luck and team unity.
  • Lucky charms: Many players have lucky charms that they keep with them during games, such as a certain piece of jewelry, a special coin, or a lucky shirt.
  • Stepping on or avoiding team logos: Some players believe that stepping on their team’s logo on the locker room floor is bad luck, while others make a point to step on it as a show of team spirit.
  • Stick taps: Before taking the ice, some players will tap their sticks on the boards or the ice in a specific pattern, believed to bring good luck to the team.
  • Specific pre-game meals: Some players have specific meals they eat before games, or certain ways they prepare their food, believed to give them an extra edge on the ice.
  • Sitting in the same spot: Fans often have their own superstitions, such as sitting in the same spot for every game or wearing the same jersey.

While these superstitions and rituals may seem silly to some, they are an important part of the culture and history of the NHL, and many players and fans swear by them. Whether they actually bring good luck or not, they are a way for fans and players to feel connected to their team and to each other, and to share in the excitement and passion of the game.

#7. The wild and creative costumes that fans wear to games, particularly during Halloween-themed events

NHL fans are known for their creativity and enthusiasm, and nowhere is this more evident than in the wild and creative costumes they wear to games, particularly during Halloween-themed events. These costumes range from simple face paint and team jerseys to elaborate, full-body costumes that completely transform the wearer.

Some of the most popular costumes among NHL fans include:

  • Hockey jerseys and face paint: Many fans keep it simple by wearing their favorite team’s jersey and adding some team-colored face paint or other accessories to show their support.
  • Superheroes and villains: Halloween events at NHL games often feature a superhero or villain theme, with fans dressing up as characters like Batman, The Joker, or Wonder Woman.
  • Hockey-themed costumes: Fans may get creative with their costumes, dressing up as a Zamboni driver, a referee, or even a Stanley Cup trophy.
  • Pop culture references: Fans may also draw inspiration from their favorite movies, TV shows, or musicians, with costumes ranging from Harry Potter characters to the cast of Stranger Things.
  • Group costumes: Some fans go all out by coordinating group costumes with their friends, such as dressing up as the Mighty Ducks or a group of hockey-playing zombies.

While costumes are always fun, they can be even more exciting during Halloween-themed events at NHL games. These events often feature special promotions, giveaways, and activities, and fans can enjoy a festive and exciting atmosphere while showing off their creativity and love for their team.

#8. The history of outdoor NHL games, including the popular Winter Classic and Stadium Series events

2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic/ source image: NHL

Outdoor NHL games have a long and storied history, with the first outdoor game taking place in 1954 in Marquette, Michigan, between the Marquette Iron Rangers and the Portage Lake Pioneers. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the NHL held its first outdoor game as part of the Heritage Classic, featuring the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Heritage Classic was a huge success, and in 2008, the NHL launched the Winter Classic, which has since become one of the league’s most popular and beloved events. The Winter Classic is held on New Year’s Day each year and features one game played outdoors in a large stadium or another outdoor venue. The event has featured a range of teams, from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Chicago Blackhawks, and draws huge crowds and television audiences.

In addition to the Winter Classic, the NHL has also launched other outdoor events, such as the Stadium Series, which features multiple outdoor games played in different cities throughout the season. The Stadium Series has featured games in cities like Los Angeles, Denver, and New York City, and has drawn huge crowds and created a festive and exciting atmosphere for fans.

Outdoor NHL games are beloved by fans and players alike for their unique atmosphere and connection to the sport’s history. They provide a chance for fans to enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape while cheering on their favorite teams, and for players to experience the thrill of playing in the open air. With their long history and growing popularity, it’s clear that outdoor NHL games will continue to be a beloved and integral part of the league for years to come.

#9. The charitable work that NHL teams and their fanbases do in their local communities

The National Hockey League (NHL) and its teams are committed to making a positive impact in their local communities. From supporting local charities to promoting youth development programs, NHL teams and their fanbases have a long history of giving back.

Many NHL teams have their own charitable foundations that work to improve the lives of people in their communities. These foundations raise funds through a variety of events and initiatives, such as auctions, raffles, and special events, and then distribute those funds to local charities and organizations. In addition, many NHL players are actively involved in charitable work and use their platform to raise awareness and support for causes they are passionate about.

One example of NHL teams’ charitable work is the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, which was launched in 1998 to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and treatment. Each year, teams host Hockey Fights Cancer events, and players wear lavender jerseys during warm-ups to show their support for the cause. The campaign has raised millions of dollars for cancer charities and has helped to make a real difference in the fight against the disease.

In addition to charitable giving, NHL teams and their fanbases also promote youth development and education programs. Many teams sponsor youth hockey programs, such as Learn to Play programs, that help kids learn the basics of the sport and encourage them to get active and stay healthy. Teams also host events to promote education and literacy, and some players even visit local schools to read to children and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

Overall, the charitable work that NHL teams and their fanbases do in their local communities is an important part of the league’s culture and values. By giving back and supporting those in need, NHL teams and players are not only making a positive impact on their communities but also serving as role models and inspiring others to do the same.

#10.The unique foods and drinks that are popular at different NHL arenas

One of the unique aspects of attending an NHL game is experiencing the different food and drink offerings at each arena. From classic hot dogs and popcorn to more adventurous and local options, each arena has its own signature menu items that fans can enjoy while cheering on their favorite teams.

One popular food item is the “hot beef sundae” at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota, home of the Minnesota Wild. This dish consists of a heaping portion of mashed potatoes topped with shredded beef, gravy, cheese, and a cherry tomato, served in a sundae cup. It’s a hearty and delicious meal that has become a fan favorite and a staple of the arena’s concession offerings.

Another notable food item can be found at PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes. The arena offers a popular BBQ pork sandwich that features a North Carolina-style pulled pork topped with coleslaw and a vinegar-based sauce, which is a nod to the region’s barbecue culture.

At the United Center in Chicago, fans can enjoy a variety of classic Chicago-style hot dogs, which feature a poppyseed bun, mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, and celery salt. This iconic dish is a must-try for any visitor to the arena and a beloved food item among locals.

In addition to food, many NHL arenas also offer unique drink options. For example, the Bell Centre in Montreal, home of the Canadiens, offers a popular drink called the “Sainte-Flanelle” which is a mix of raspberry-flavored soda and a splash of grenadine, served over ice. This drink is a tribute to the team’s nickname, which translates to “the red flannel,” and is a favorite among fans.

The unique foods and drinks offered at NHL arenas provide a fun and tasty way for fans to experience the culture and traditions of the different cities and regions represented by each team.

In conclusion, the NHL fanbase is a vibrant and passionate community that adds to the excitement of the sport. From unique traditions to creative costumes and charitable work, there are many fun and interesting facts to discover about NHL fans. We hope this blog post has given you a new appreciation for the dedicated supporters of this thrilling sport.