The Practical New Fan’s Stanley Cup Final Survival Guide

So You Got Into Hockey During the Playoffs—What Now?

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As I mentioned today on twitter, we were all new hockey fans once, and some of us came in during the playoffs. It’s a treacherous time for all (particularly the giant man-children on the ice), but fans who are new to the sport or the league might find the waters—and fellow fans—a little rough to navigate.
That’s where we come in.

With the help of some friends, I’ve compiled a list—a survival guide, if you will—for the Stanley Cup Final.

1. Always mute during intermission. Unless you see Bob McKenzie‘s face on your screen, it isn’t safe to listen. Just trust me on this one. Uncle Bob is the only analyst on any of the major networks whose opinion is worth your time.

2. Speaking of intermission, intermission breaks are not for alcohol. You’re never gonna survive if you keep drinking through the breaks. Goodbye, liver. “Water in, water out” is how my ballet instructor phrases it. If you’re drinking alcohol, switch to water between periods. Whether you’re drinking or not, schedule your bathroom breaks for between periods. You don’t need to be listening to those talking heads anyway.

3. Don’t worry about keeping track of the puck. This piece of advice comes from Carolyn over at Two Bearded Ladies. Instead of stressing out your eyes trying to follow that tiny little black speck, look for the players who anticipate it.

4. Your favorite player is whoever you want him to be. There’s going to come a moment where your eyes land on one particular player and you go

Whether you choose the fourth line grinder or the elite forward, people might try to tell you that you’ve chosen incorrectly. Don’t listen to them. You don’t have to justify your choice to anyone.

5. Don’t try to learn the rules. This isn’t the regular season. This is the Thunderdome. Puny mortal rules do not apply here. (If you do try to learn the rules, save your questions for people that you might be watching with until that intermission break. You’ll get a much more coherent answer that way.)

6. Listen to the announcer’s tone. If you aren’t sure what’s happening, one of the best ways to follow the action is to pay attention to the announcer’s tone of voice. The more high-pitched and excited he gets, the better the chances that something important is happening.

7. People suck. If you are a new fan, particularly a new fan who is a woman, chances are some people are going to crawl out of the woodwork to be awful to you on social media. Use your block button swiftly and without ceasing. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

8. There probably won’t be any fighting. While this is the Thunderdome, and you could probably stab a guy off the opening faceoff and not even get a two-minute minor, if you’re here for the fights I hope you’re planning to stick around till next season. For the most part, guys who go this deep in the playoffs understand they don’t need to be putting their team down a man when the Cup is on the line. Don’t worry. There will be plenty of violence without it.

9. Everyone was a bandwagoner at one point or another. If someone calls you a bandwagoner, feel free to give them the rude hand gesture of your choice.

10. As we all learned last series, you can’t headbutt the puck into the goal. Sorry, Shawzer.

If you have any questions about the games, the players, or hockey in general, we ladies here at HH&HS are always here for you, and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll try to find someone who does!

Happy playoffs!

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