25 Things That Drive Every Hockey Fan Crazy

Hockey is a great sport. For my money, it’s the best sport in the world in terms of action and the community it creates. Despite all the great things it has to offer, there are a few hockey pet peeves that irk everyone in the hockey world, and some that downright suck. Whether it’s something that players, fans, commentators, or writers do, it’s just annoying. As a fan, player, and writer of the game, I’ve found these to be almost universal.

The 25 Hockey Pet Peeves

Pierre McGuire:

He insists on flaunting his vast knowledge of players’ past teams and history, especially when they score a goal. I’m sorry, but we don’t need to know that Crosby played for the Cole Harbour Red Wings as a PeeWee at age 11, please talk about the goal he just scored. There is also his trademark “Go have fun out there” when ending a pre-game interview with a player.


Fans that yell “SHOOT!” when their team is on a power play:

You don’t see what the players are seeing on the ice. You don’t know better than they do what the correct thing is to do with the puck.

Fans that stand up, turn around, and wave at the camera in the arena:

You are incredibly annoying, not only to the people watching on TV, but you block the view of those sitting behind you. Even worse when the person is on their cell phone and doing this at the same time.

Fights after every hard hit, even if it’s clean:

This is a trend that has developed recently over time. Even if the check is completely clean, somebody on the ice starts something if his teammate gets laid out. While defending your teammates is important, it isn’t necessary if they’re on the receiving end of one of these hits.

People that insist advanced stats are everything:

Like this article that insisted Matt Carle was just as good as Ryan Suter. Advanced stats are a great advancement in analyzing hockey players, but they’re still in their very early stages, and are only a piece (albeit an important one) of the puzzle. These people are wrong, advanced stats are not everything.

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People that insist advanced stats are nothing:

These people are members of the old guard in what is called the “old guard vs. new guard” debate in advanced stats. Their most notable proponent is Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, who has been a vocal proponent of the “eye test” and believing in what he sees, instead of what the numbers say. These people are also wrong.


This tweet came the October before Corsi predicted the Leafs would fall apart in the long run, which they did.


Self explanatory.

The Stanley Cup/team success argument:

Like this absurd one that insists Toews is better than Crosby because he has two cups. Plenty of incredible players have never won a cup.

People that put their own name on a team’s jersey:

Never been a fan of this. Even worse if a couple coordinates jerseys that go together, and wear them to the game together.

hockey sucks | Don Cherry
Don Cherry (Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)

Canadian/European stereotypes:

Don Cherry’s “Good Ol’ Canadian Boy” from Western Canada is a heart and soul player that you win championships with. Russians are enigmas that are lazy, soft, and don’t care about defense.

People that complain about bandwagon fans in the playoffs, and wonder why the NHL is a niche sport:

More than any other sport, NHL  fans are hostile towards fans that are new to the game and say they aren’t true fans. These same people wonder why the NFL trumps the NHL and why ESPN doesn’t talk about hockey.

Fans that only clap when the Jumbotron says “Make Noise!”:

You should be making noise throughout the game.

Fans that bang on the glass:

Especially bad if it’s behind the net where the microphone for the TV feed is. It’s annoying to TV viewers, and you’re not scaring or distracting the players. At all.

Obnoxious cell phone usage during games:

If you want to snap a few pictures or check your phone between whistles or at intermission, fine. But don’t have it in your hand the whole time while the game is going on.

Players disrespecting the handshake line after a playoff series:

Marty Brodeur refused to shake Sean Avery’s hand, and Milan Lucic told Dale Weise he was going to kill him. It’s a time honored tradition and a show of good sportsmanship, respect the handshake line.

Zdeno Chara Joel Ward
Chara shakes hands with the winning goal scorer Ward (Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE)

Fans complaining about a lack of class from other teams:

Every team has dirty players that hit from behind, dive, elbow, and embellish. Your team is not special.

The puck-over-the-glass delay of game penalty:

This rule was made with good intention, but has resulted in penalties that have decided the fate of games when the clearing was completely unintentional.

Calling players by their nicknames that their teammates use:

You’re not a member of the team or their best buddy. Don’t use their  nicknames.

Diving and embellishment:

The only way in which the NHL should aspire to be like soccer is in world popularity.

Hating PK Subban or Alex Ovechkin because of their “excessive celebrations” (aka energy and passion):

Hockey needs more players like this to draw attention to the sport. Hockey players as a whole are very reserved compared to other athletes, and flashy players and celebrations will draw more fans to the game.

P.K. Subban pet peeves
P.K. Subban (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

The “Ovechkin sucks the in the playoffs” argument:

Likely the same person that believes Toews>Crosby because of intangibles and cups. Ovechkin doesn’t suck in the playoffs, the team surrounding him sucks. Ovechkin’s playoffs PPG? 1.05. Toews’? .86.[stats at the time of writing, Dec. 2014]

Fans complaining about reffing:

Players are bigger and faster than ever, and refs are forced to make countless split second decisions every game. Sometimes they get it wrong. It’s impossible to be perfect. As a referee at the lowest of levels (intramural), I gained a tremendous respect for NHL refs and the job they do.

Fans that refer to your favorite team as “our team” when playing well or “your team” when they’re struggling:

As a Flyers fan I’ve gotten a lot of this one recently. They enjoy the success, and stay as far away as possible from the failures.

Fans using slow-mo and screenshots to claim a hit is late/dirty:

These players are playing one of the most adrenaline filled sports at a faster pace than ever in history. Of course it looks like an intentional elbow or late hit when you slow it down to 1,000 frames/second.

“Crosby would lap Gretzky if he played in the 1980s”:

When you watch video of Gretzky playing in the 1980s, of course the game looks worse and slower. Technology relating to equipment and training has come so far in a short period of time from then to now. If you gave Crosby the equipment, training, and technology Gretzky had at the time, he’d obviously look less impressive.

Bring up any of these hockey pet peeves up in conversation with a hockey fan, and they’ll likely go on a rant about how much it annoys them. What hockey related pet peeves irk you the most? Any that I missed?

** originally written in Dec. 2014