Women Hockey Fans: Amy

Meet Amy (@)! She’s 26 & from West Midlands, UK

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How Did You Get Into Hockey?
Hockey is not really a big deal in the UK, although the popularity is growing. I watched it during the winter Olympics but never really had much exposure – until my friend Clare got into it somehow. Knowing my general like for any potentially violent and dangerous sport, she decided to send me about a million pictures of shirtless Ryan Kesler until I agreed to watch a game. And here we are. Essentially, it’s the “how I got into hockey” story that would get you an eye roll and to be told you’re not a real fan, but whatever. 

What is your favorite/least favorite part about the sport?
I really love the excitement of hockey – it’s fast paced, it’s physical, it can be dangerous and violent. It gets your adrenaline up and your heart racing, the thrill of your team winning and the heartbreak of losing. The plays, the goals, the fights. It’s exciting.

There’s not much I don’t like about the sport itself, more hockey culture. The whole, white men drink beer and get angry thing. The racism and sexism especially, and more specifically to the internet, the sort of pressure there is when you’re a female hockey fan with opinions on the internet, you’d better know absolutely every minute bit of history, every stat, every tactic and play, everything. When all I want to do really is watch some idiots race after a bit of hard rubber on ice and sometimes shout about it on the internet. I mean, I’m into muscular men playing sports, and that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to like something, just as any other reason.

Do you follow any other sports?
I grew up watching rugby union and Formula 1, both of which I am still into in varying degrees. I generally enjoy motorsports, BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) and WRC (World Rally Championship) I like a lot. I don’t especially follow one rugby team, I’m fond of the Saracens, Stade Toulouse, Racing-Metro 92 and the Welsh and French national teams. I also used to play and officiate roller derby, but gave up playing because of a nasty injury I got. Really, I’m into sports that are fast paced and potentially dangerous.

Are you strictly an NHL fan or do you follow other leagues?
I usually know what’s going on in the EIHL, which is the highest level of hockey in the UK, but I don’t follow any teams particularly. I keep an eye on the Utica Comets and some of the junior leagues, but again, not to the same degree. It’s a LOT harder in the UK to keep up with non-NHL teams outside of Twitter.

What is/are your favorite team(s)?
I am, first and foremost, a Vancouver Canucks fan. It was a huge mistake I regret infinitely, but I’m in way too deep now (it wasn’t. I love this stupid team more than I love life itself). I also follow the Habs, but I’m not as heavily invested.

Do you have a favorite player?
This would come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I really love Kevin Bieksa. Everything from his wicked sense of humour to the way he plays, I love it. He’s sarcastic as all hell, and doesn’t take stupid questions, but he also seems like a really great guy and I love how he is with his kids. It’s a package deal. I could gush forever about Kevin Bieksa. I also love Trevor Linden, if we’re going for retired players as well.

Do you follow/use/analyze with advanced stats?
I do not follow or use or even understand advanced stats. I’m not great with numbers. I see their use for staffers within hockey teams, scouts, and people who are into numbers and percentages, but for me personally, the only stat that really matters is the score at the end of the game. The great thing is, there’s no “right” way to enjoy hockey so if you want to just sit back and watch casually then you can, and if analysing plays and making stat comparisons is one of the ways you like to watch hockey then that’s also great.

Do you have a favorite hockey memory?
I’ve not been watching hockey for very long, and because of my location I’ve never had the chance to see an NHL game [live] yet, so I guess my favourite hockey memory would be the women’s Olympic final this year, for USA to be leading the whole game and Canada to claw it back at the very end.. that was some amazing hockey. I’m hoping to be able to visit the US in a year or so and make some live hockey memories though.

If you could change one thing about how NHL hockey is played, what would it be?
I don’t think I’d change anything, but that may be because I don’t know a lot. If I had the power to change ANYTHING, though, I’d make all Canucks games start mid afternoon, so if I want to watch one live, I don’t have to either stay up until the very early hours, or set my alarm for the middle of the night. In a perfect world, anyway.

How has your presence been welcomed (or not) by men/women- either on social media or at games/bars?
I’ve only had the opportunity to go to a couple of hockey games in the UK, and no one really bat an eyelid about my being there. On social media, I’ve definitely had infinitely more positive experiences interacting with other women. The vast majority of women I’ve met through hockey have been so great and I’m really proud and happy to consider a lot of them to now be real friends, who just happen to live scattered across the whole world.

If you interact with other hockey fans on social media, what are your favorite and least favorite parts?
I don’t interact much with the hockey world at large on social media, for a number of reasons. I worry that, as a “casual” fan, any opinions I have would be ignored at best, or that I’d be dismissed because I don’t know everything and I’m physically unable to watch even most games live due to timezones. My Twitter account is set to private, so I can only really interact with those people who already follow me, and I don’t feel that I know enough to have a purely hockey open account. I just like to watch hockey and talk about it sometimes with people!

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