Person 1: Hey, I'm a true hockey fan
Person 2: Prove it
Person 1: OK *names most players on every team in the NHL*
Just knowing the players doesn't mean you're a true hockey fan, it just means you're a smart one. It takes a true hockey fan to watch hockey outside of their comfort spot.
Over the last couple of months, I have been living in Santiago, Chile. However, I'm currently writing this article from Lima, Peru. It's no mystery that soccer is huge here, one in every five people is wearing a soccer jersey in certain parts of Chile.
I think it's very safe to say that people down here are true soccer fans, but compared to the hockey fans up north, they're nothing.
I just recently met up with some old friends, and I talked about soccer with them. I was surprised, they talked to me about leagues I have never even heard of. They knew everything, it was really impressive. They could name players from small leagues in Europe, it was all very impressive.
How many of you can name one team from the Elite League?
Like I said before, it doesn't matter if you can name the teams or the players that makes you a true sports fan. What is it then? It's the willingness to get out of your comfort zone.
Some excuses may arise such as "I can't understand the language they speak in," but not all leagues are in a foreign language. There are other english-speaking leagues such as the AHL, OHL, WHL, and even the college leagues. And even if you can't understand the language from some league in Sweden; you have eyes, you can see for yourself what's happening, you don't need someone to tell you what's happening.
I think that in order to have good perspective of what hockey really is, you have to acknowledge that the NHL isn't the only hockey league there is. NHL hockey isn't the only type of hockey there is.
I think too many people get caught up in who is going to win that they forget it's hockey. Here in South America, people sometimes just watch games over and over to look at the players' moves and admire their skill.
I'm just saying that you have to go outside your comfort zone (comfort zone means watching HNIC on your plasma TV) to maybe a not so comfortable zone (not so comfortable means watching a laggy hockey game on your computer in another language).
I don't care how well you know the NHL, if you don't know about hockey that's outside the NHL or North America, you can't call yourself a true hockey fan.
P.S. I'll write a better version of this when I get back to Chile.