It’s odd the places you can find hockey fans sometimes. Granted, you can find them in bars, or stores, or schools, but there was one place where I was not really expecting to find a hockey fan, at least an avid one that knew their stuff, and that was in a Twitch chat.
For those of you that might not know what Twitch is, let me give you a brief rundown. Twitch is a streaming service that offers lots of different categories for people to stream under and in turn, people can gather together and talk in those chat rooms. My favorite just so happens to be the video game category, and to narrow it down even more, to an Overwatch streamer under the name EvilToaster. He’s someone that I’ve been watching for months, and as of two weeks ago, moderating his channel. The community he has is one of the best and most welcoming communities. And some of them just so happen to be hockey fans too.
Enter my friend Andrew. I mentioned offhand one day in a chat about how I was so lucky and thankful to be a writer for this site and he instantly responded to me, almost in shock, about how I was a hockey fan and it was kind of rare to see us around in places that aren’t stereotypical. Granted we might not be rooting for the same team, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t able to be friends.
I asked him if he would talk with me about his love for hockey, and he agreed, so this is a little bit about that and how that brought us together.
He grew up playing hockey and his dad has a hockey background, and this helped foster his love for hockey. He loved to watch it, too, and that got even more intense for him when he hit his early teen years. He’s like me, in a sense, where he can rattle off stats and things about the team off the top of his head like he’s making a grocery list. I can tell he has a love for hockey just by the way he is when he talks about it- it’s hard to not hear the passion in his voice. And his love for hockey isn’t just closed off to his own team, it spans across the whole league. He named off players to me that he loved and respected and they spread across the league and teams. His love lies in the game for itself, and he said he doesn’t follow the controversies as much as just the game. He said he was here for the player personalities more than the play, and that’s something you don’t see very often, or at least I don’t.
One thing that I really appreciated was that he didn’t undermine me for being a Red Wings fan, or for being female. He was just excited to find another hockey fan to talk to. We talked for almost three hours, and it was so refreshing to me to talk to someone that loved this game at it’s base just as much as I did, and someone so similar to me.
This brought two things to my attention that I now find very important. The first thing it brought to my attention is the fact that hockey fans can be found everywhere, not just where you expect them to be. The second is something that I feel like everyone should know, and that it doesn’t matter what team you cheer for, it doesn’t cost anything to be nice to one another and to just talk about the game.
And that’s something we should all take a step back and do sometimes. Set the rivalries aside and just remember why we love this game in the first place and discuss that.