20 Ways to Know That You're a Huge Hockey Fan

Alison Myers@AlisonM_110Correspondent IFebruary 14, 2012

20 Ways to Know That You're a Huge Hockey Fan

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    Regardless of which team you root for, you have probably seen one of those lists that tells you how you know you are a fan of your favorite team. Maybe the list demonstrates your knowledge of long-standing traditions or player nicknames (the good and the bad), or perhaps the majority of your wardrobe is in the team's colors.

    But how do you know you've been swept into a hockey-crazed world? This goes beyond just liking one team or a few players and into how you know you have a passion for the sport as a whole.

    Here are 20 signs that you are a huge hockey fan.

    This list is not meant to be exhaustive, so feel free to add to it in the comments.

1. You Own a Lot of Apparel Related to Your Favorite Team

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    Hockey fans love spending money to support their favorite team, and one of the ways they do so is by purchasing team apparel.

    While customized jerseys are one of the most popular items available, it doesn't stop there. Other items of clothing such as hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants and T-shirts are big sellers, and fans also appreciate accessories such as scarves and jewelry.

    If you want to show your team pride in public, you have a lot of options, both in what you could wear and where you can buy it.

    However, the real passion shows if team clothing makes up a large part of your wardrobe. If much of your closet and drawer space is taken up by team gear, and you could wear all your NHL clothing without doing laundry for a lengthy period of time, you're pretty hardcore.

2. You Collect Memorabilia

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    Hockey fans may take their passion to the next level by collecting memorabilia related to their favorite team and the NHL.

    Some fans can't get enough of buying game-worn jerseys and will plunk down precious coin to own a jersey related to a collection theme. Others can't quite afford that but want to get involved, so they choose to collect hockey cards, ticket stubs, pucks or bobbleheads, for example.

    If you are a collector of anything, you'll find that the larger your collection, the more space it takes up. Perhaps your jerseys can fill a whole closet or two, or maybe you've needed several containers to fit all your hockey cards. Maybe your bobbleheads line your desk at work.

    Whatever you choose, starting a memorabilia collection is a great way to show which team you root for and your love of hockey in general.

3. You Have a Hockey Room or Other Space for Your Passion

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    Oh, I wish I weren't considered way too old to have a hockey-themed bedroom. I'd want to live here, except to have Pittsburgh Penguins colors.

    But instead, I settle for having hockey walls throughout my room. These are spaces devoted to the posters and team photos I've accumulated over the years, as well as pictures of me with some of the players I've been fortunate enough to meet.

    If you have the patience and desire to decorate some or all of a room in a hockey theme, that is the easiest way to let your family and friends know you literally live and breathe hockey. Everyone who comes to your house will know what your passion is as soon as they walk in. Better yet, they will probably be envious that you have the freedom to decorate in such a manner.

    Having a space that's the center of attention is an instant conversation starter and a great way to share your obsession with others.

    Speaking of sharing your obsession...

4. You Have Introduced Others to Hockey

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    When you are trying to bond with new friends or family members, you want to learn about their hobbies and interests.

    If you are a huge hockey fan and you are getting to know someone who is on the fence about hockey or not familiar with it, you can show your fandom by introducing them to the sport. This takes a pretty dedicated fan, as you need to know a lot about the rules of hockey and which teams and players are most worth watching.

    You can also take the hockey newbie in your life to a game and let them get the in-arena experience, from any special cheers and chants to standing up and going crazy when the goal horn goes off. From my experiences, it's easier to get someone hooked when they are sitting at a game rather than watching on TV.

    I ended up introducing one of my friends to hockey, and although we have since grown apart, I have seen her at games with some of her other friends and she was excited to be going.

    You may have to be patient when someone is at their first game, as they do not necessarily understand what's happening on the ice, but if they come out of it a fan, then it's worth it. After all, they bought into why you are such a fan.

5. Most of Your Friends Are Hockey Fans

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    In life, we tend to connect with people who share the same interests as us, and when you're a hockey fan, it's especially easy to make that the case.

    Hockey fans are almost like a family. After you've been going to games for a while, you get to know who the regulars are, particularly if they are season ticket holders. You may also strike up a conversation when you see someone wearing apparel of your favorite team (that's how I met my best friend), or you might strike up a conversation with a fellow fan on Facebook or Twitter.

    The possibilities of meeting people are, of course, endless. But they can all lead to good friendships, and before you know it, you find that you mostly associate with other hockey fans. While you may do things together outside of the rink, most of your memories involve your favorite team and sport.

    And at the end of the day, that's not a bad thing.

6. Your Social-Media Names Involve Hockey

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    When you join a social media network, you get the opportunity to create your own username, which says something unique about you.

    If you are a big hockey fan, your username likely relates to your fandom. You may choose something simple, like "PenguinsFan87," but you can also get creative and use clever wordplay on your favorite team's or player's name.

    In addition to having a hockey-themed username, you may go a step further and pick a password related to hockey. This makes everything easy to remember, because you are probably always thinking about hockey anyway. Therefore, your password and username will also be at the front of your mind, and you'll never have to sit around waiting for those automated e-mails reminding you of your login information.

    OK, maybe not quite that far, especially if you don't have a good memory.

    But when it comes to your Facebook or Twitter identity, you know you're a huge fan if you would never dream of not tying your online pseudonym to hockey.

7. You DVR Games You're Watching Live or Will Be Attending

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    DVR isn't just for people who will be out of the house when their favorite show is on so they can catch up with it when it's convenient for them.

    It's also for rabid hockey fans who can't settle for watching a hockey game just one time.

    If you are recording the same game you're going to live or just so you can watch it back the next day even though you are on your couch when the game was on, then you know you are a passionate fan. Watching the highlight-reel goals and big fights once isn't enough for you; you want to have those moments saved in your TV's memory forever. 

    Recording a game you will be seeing live is just a way of telling everyone around you that you just can't get enough of hockey.

8. You Have Supported Your Team on the Road

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    Sure, it's fun (and safe) to support your team in their home building.

    But when you're a diehard hockey fan, you can't help but go see the team you support on the road once in a while. It's always great to see a new city, meet home team fans who are up for conversation and joking around and to get to see how your team fares playing elsewhere.

    Road trips are affairs that take a lot of planning, so the process of arranging transportation, purchasing just the right tickets and booking a hotel can show your dedication. This is further true if there are some less-than-convenient issues to attend to, like throwing your luggage over a huge pile of snow when unloading at the hotel or if you have to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to get a bus. (I've been through both of these, and then some.)

    Face it, things that would get on your nerves if you were traveling under normal circumstances won't bother you if you are passionate enough to book a hockey road trip in the first place.

9. You Have Waited a Long Time for an Autograph

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    One of the thrills of being a hockey fan, no matter how old you are, is getting your favorite players' autographs. And oh, the lengths you will go to in order to obtain them. 

    Some of us have stood out in the cold for a long time after a game. Others have gone to meet-and-greet events and spent the night standing in long lines with people who have what feels like an infinite amount of things for signing. Maybe you fought the crowd at an informal event and managed to push through (without causing problems, of course) to get to a player.

    And yes, some of us still mail things to players asking for autographs, and you wait by the mailbox eagerly for your item to come back.

    It's tough to be patient, but when you're a big enough of fan, the wait is worth it when you can brag about who you met or who signed your jersey.

10. You Get Nervous in Overtime and Shootouts

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    When 60 minutes just isn't enough to settle the score, overtime—and maybe the shootout—is used to determine who walks away with two points and who is handed a loser point.

    These are intense times for hardcore hockey fans. You can feel yourself getting more pumped up, as you can feel your heart racing or the butterflies forming in your stomach. Every shot on goal or rush up ice has you on the edge of your seat, crossing your fingers that either the goalie makes a save or that the puck goes into the net.

    Shootouts can be even worse. The stakes are higher because it's just the shooter and the goalie, and you get energized to boo the opposing shooter, hoping to break his concentration. The longer the shootout goes, the more impatient you get for things to be settled.

    Sure, regulation is exciting, but the higher stakes of overtime and shootout can be some tough times for hockey fans. If you have ever found yourself pacing a room, squirming in your seat or tapping your foot impatiently, you know you have passion.

11. You Have Stayed Up Late for Playoff Overtime

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    One of the best parts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is overtime. That's because it has the same length as a regulation period and can go on all night if that's what the players need to help determine in which direction a series will go next.

    So what does that mean for you? Well, if you're a huge hockey fan, that means you're not going to bed until the game is over. You can recall at least one time where you stayed up beyond your bedtime just because you knew you wouldn't sleep if you didn't know the score. 

    If you've found yourself turning to caffeine at 11 p.m. or struggling to keep your eyes open as the commentators drone on, then hockey plays a pretty big part in your life. And even if you don't feel your best the next day, you have no regrets about staying awake.

12. You Plan Vacations Around the Hockey Schedule

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    When your team is in the playoffs, it's pretty much a given that you will not be making any big plans while the postseason is going on.

    Do you want to get married? Your wedding will likely be in the time period from late June to the middle of September.

    For summer vacation, you refuse to plan until after the latest date that the playoffs could run through, even if you know your team probably won't go to the finals. But hey, it's the playoffs and anything could happen, right?

    It's not just vacation, though. If you're invited to a party and already have tickets to a hockey game, you've either thought about skipping or have told the person extending the invitation that you already have plans.

13. You Dread Summer

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    As soon as the last Stanley Cup Playoff game is finished and the Stanley Cup parade is held and over with, the worst time of year for a hockey fan begins: summer.

    Even though the NHL draft and free agency keep fans talking, your life gets a little more boring when there are no games to be played. You try baseball, but that's hardly the same level of excitement. You sweat while walking in the park or sitting at a barbecue, and you wish you could be bundled up and keeping cool in a hockey rink.

    If you'd rather summer hurry up and leave as quickly as possible so you can get back to wearing your hockey jerseys, your passion is here to stay.

14. You Own Media Related to Hockey

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    When you love hockey, you're interested in anything even remotely related to it. That includes DVDs of your team's best games, fictional movies related to to hockey (Miracle and Slap Shot are two of the classics) and video games such as NHL Slapshot that let you play the game on all levels, from youth hockey to the pros.

    It's a mark of a true fan who owns any of these things, but you're pretty obsessed if you have worn out at least one DVD or video game from overuse.

15. You Download Music You Hear at Hockey Games

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    Hockey can be a good way to get introduced to music you've never heard before. Sure, some of the songs are already overplayed on the radio, but NHL commercials and in-arena music can include songs and musicians that inspire you to run to Google or iTunes and figure out what you just heard. After all, you decide you have to have it in your music collection now.

    When all is said and done, you may have enough songs to make a separate playlist of hockey songs, or at least ensure that it takes up a good chunk of your iPod space.

    If you're looking for guidance, check out the article I wrote back in October where I give my ideas for the ultimate hockey fan playlist.

16. You've Read Hockey Books

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    There is no shortage of books related to hockey, and if you're a big fan, you have probably read at least one or have a list of ones you want to read.

    Some are biographies about hockey legends, while others are history or trivia books, but it is too easy to get consumed by one. After you finish, you put it away knowing that you will probably read it again someday.

    Regardless of what you are looking for in a hockey book, you can probably find it online or in your local bookstore.

    Check out some of my suggestions here.

17. You Are a Walking Encyclopedia of Hockey Knowledge

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    If someone you know does not understand a rule of hockey or if they are stumped coming up with a statistic, they may go to you before they try to Google it.

    After all, you can probably come up with the answer off the top of your head, and maybe without thinking about it. Even search engines take time to load results, after all.

    Some of the most passionate fans are those who know almost anything there is to know about hockey history and the rules of the game, as well as obscure facts such as which player scored a goal in a particular game.

18. You Ask for Hockey-Themed Gifts

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    Who needs ugly Christmas sweaters, socks and gift certificates you'll never use when you can just ask for gifts related to your favorite sport?

    When asked for a Christmas or a birthday list, at least one or two items on it tie into hockey. You probably have ideas from this slideshow if you are trying to request a gift, but surely, you can come up with some things I missed.

    Furthermore, if you're not the list-making type and your friends and family are stuck on what to get you, they know you will always be happy if they show up with a hockey gift.

19. You Compare Other Sports to Hockey

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    When I was watching the last few minutes of the Super Bowl, I couldn't help but notice how the Lombardi Trophy was presented compared to the Stanley Cup. The presentation felt slower and done without as much meaning as when the Cup comes out, presented by two men in white gloves walking down a red carpet.

    That''s just my personal opinion, but it's definitely an example of how hockey fans might think when watching another sport.

    You watch baseball and complain that it moves too slow. You're watching football and realize that it's physical, but you can't stand how the clock stops every time someone needs to sneeze (or so it seems). You'll watch basketball and complain how so many of the players have egos that hockey players do not have.

    I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Other sports just don't measure up when hockey is your life.

20. You Have a Hockey Fan Bucket List

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    In the movie The Bucket List, the main characters played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson make a list of things they want to do before they die from cancer, and they set out to do these things together.

    It's a great film, and if you're a hockey fan, you've either thought about making a bucket list related to hockey, or you already have one.

    Some of the things you may include are going to the Hockey Hall of Fame, seeing a Stanley Cup Finals game in person or meeting your all-time favorite player.

    No matter what your list looks like, this is a great way to keep your passion fresh and help you look forward to the future.