Women Hockey Fans: Casey

Meet Casey (@thehazelbelle)!

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How Did You Get Into Hockey?
I got into Hockey from spending time with two of my uncles and their daughters. It quickly became a family thing. There was a period when I stopped watching due to dance (practice conflicts) but I quickly fell back into watching and loving hockey again.

What is your favorite/least favorite part about the sport?
My favorite is the ability to watch the pure athleticism of the game and seeing what it takes to actually play professional hockey.

My least favorite is that the refereeing of the sport is spotty at best; nothing is consistent and sometimes it feels that refs try to take control of the game when they should let the players be the ones to decide how it goes.

Do you follow any other sports?
I follow Football/Soccer second after Hockey, than it is a toss up between Rugby/American Football.

Are you strictly an NHL fan or do you follow other leagues?
I try my best to keep up with the DEL (German Ice Hockey League) the best I can.

What is/are your favorite team(s)?
The New York Rangers. I also follow the Eisbären Berlin (Berlin Ice Bears), it stems from actually watching a Bayern Munich game and on the live stream they had a bit about the team and I got really interested. Than the lock out happened and I started watching more international Hockey. And boom, I kind of fell in love with the Ice Bears. They also have a Lederhosen uniform.

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Do you have a favorite player?
I find it hard to have a favorite player but if I had to choose it would come down to Brian Leetch or Ryan McDonagh. Non Ranger player is Nick Lidstrom and Jonathan Toews.

Do you follow/use/analyze with advanced stats?
No, I do not follow advanced stats. I like what they can show about the player but I feel that it isn’t the end all and be all about individual players. They do have a purposes in the sport though, especially as the sport grows.

Do you have a favorite hockey memory?
2014 Eastern Conference Final, Game 6 at MSG with the Rangers winning. Being there at MSG when it happened was truly incredible and such a rush of euphoria. All the fans hugging each other and throwing up towels in the air, dancing in the hallways, and the Rangers chant at the base of MSG was just shivers up and down the body.

If you could change one thing about how NHL hockey is played, what would it be?
This is such a loaded question because there are some things that the NHL can change, should change, and what the fans of the sport want the NHL to change. I’d change the rule that relates to Video Review, Coaches Challenge, and in regards to Overtime… have it go to a 4-on-4 for 10 minutes to a 3-on-3 for 5 minutes, and than if no one scores a goal both teams should get a point. No one gets the second point.

How has your presence been welcomed (or not) by men – either on social media or at games/bars?
On Social Media; Twitter especially has been very opening for the most part and barely any assholes bother me. It is nice. Twitter seems to be more open to female fans for the most part, whereas Reddit is sometimes a terrible place for female fans, especially female fans who are learning the game and/or have a hard time following the rules and sub-rules of the game (or who sometimes forget about a rule). They bring it up in every post and hive-mind mentality down votes will come your way.

At bars, it is harder to say since I normally stick to my regular bars which are NY Ranger bars or Boston Bruins (When I was in school in CT), and I was left alone when I was there or I was given nice company during the games; never ragged on or belittled except by some really drunk and really rude fans.

How has your presence been welcomed (or not) by women – either on social media or at games/bars?
On Social Media; especially with Twitter it was spilt even in half. Half of females were very opening and welcome; while the other half were harpy-like and very cold (like high school cliquish). I learned very quickly how to handle myself when it came to the fans for the team that I root for. Other Social Media, such as a lovely site on LiveJournal, is a place where I found a safe zone to discuss hockey, where I wouldn’t be seen as a joke because I am still learning the rules and stuff (even after being a fan for a few years).

Reddit is a hard thing to judge because I only found a few females and those there are either 1) Very Much Open and Friendly, 2) If you don’t agree, you’re gonna get down voted, 3) Fuck You, You’re not a real fan because you didn’t know this and you’re a PUCK SLUT; and there is a nice sub reddit for female fans to hang out in when the machoism of r/Hockey gets overbearing.

If you interact with other hockey fans on social media, what are your favorite and least favorite parts?
Understanding that regardless, things are said in heated moments but after that is done… let the comments go. Everyone, EVERYONE says asshole-like things. If you hold it against them, that’s kind of ridiculous. Literally, everyone says something that’s shitty about a team, or a player, or a rule.  However, if it involves family, friends, personal life, and wishing death… then it should be reported and understand that the person who said the thing isn’t the representative of said Teams Fandom. People can’t quite seem to disconnect and realize that it is a game. It’s a harsh learning lesson that everyone goes through, and will continue to learn as they are being fans of the sport.

Is there anything else you want to share on your thoughts on hockey?
Hockey is a sport that is fast, hard hitting, a game of speed and chance with a mix of probability. The game will continue to grow, and we must accept everyone who wants to play or who wants to support the team. Regardless of what the old guard think, newer fans are coming in and changing things. If the sport cannot grow, it will not survive.

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