Life as an NHL Fan Abroad

Jokim [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The summer has well and truly started. People are enjoying the beaches or finding other ways to take advantage of the nice weather. Especially in Europe, which is currently undergoing a massive heatwave. This has left the thought of ice hockey as an afterthought for most people. Everywhere in Europe, there is a good chance you can spot a Barcelona or Real Madrid shirt, or overhear the latest rumors surrounding the Premier League. What is unlikely is talks about the newest trades in the NHL. That’s the reality and life as an NHL fan abroad.

The Season Begins

Some Europeans long for October. The month where the holy grail of hockey returns. They long for the restless days at work, where they can’t focus on the job at hand, simply because they keep thinking about Austin Matthew’s shoulder or Mitch Marner’s contract negotiations. They long for the nights when their team is playing in California at 4 am, where coffee the morning after becomes a must, and the snooze bottom on the phone is working overtime. Only to do it all over again tomorrow, as it’s a back to back in Los Angeles. Once that’s over there are still six to eight months left of the season because that was only October.

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Months pass and all of a sudden, the team of choice is in a dog fight for the playoffs with ten games left. Previously, it might have been acceptable to watch the highlights in the morning, to be well-rested before a big day at work. Now the mere thought of doing so and missing a game becomes an enigma. Cold sweat and nerves are piling up, and the worry of defeat becomes almost unbearable. The passion for the sport, that not many around you will understand, won’t allow you to miss even a second of these games.

Due to irregular sleep patterns, co-workers might even start to notice. In order to have you working properly and rested, they might even wish for the team to miss the playoffs. Should they make the playoffs, the hopes and dreams will start to set in. Because maybe it is our turn to sing Gloria at a parade in June? Something that would solidify why the NHL is worth the restless nights and coffee riddled days at work.

Unity

That’s the life of an NHL fan in Europe. It’s filled with a lot of passion and hope, which makes insomnia and a sleep schedule worth it. People around might not understand the priorities and choices we make. It’s not a sport that’s a major thing anyways. Football and soccer reign supreme around here and ice is used for drinks. Hockey is a minor sport and it’s not something a lot of bars or pubs will show, but while it does have its downside, the one upside is unity. The awareness of it being a sport that’s in the shadow of football means that the comradery and respect between the fans might be some of the greatest I’ve seen in sports. Sure, there are rivalries, but for the most part, it’s something where the sport itself is more important than the team of choice.


Frederik Frandsen is a Minnesota Wild contributor at Overtime Heroics. Follow him @Mr_Frans2603

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