Bandwagon Blackhawks fans need love too

By Matt Hopkinson

Hockey is a very involved sport, and it becomes even more convoluted when it is played in Chicago.

The Chicago Blackhawks have one of the biggest and most loyal followings in all sports, let alone hockey.

The conundrum comes out in the acceptance of new fans, however. I’ll be the first to admit I’m still new to hockey. I started watching the year they won the Stanley Cup, but from the beginning of the season, mind you. I just happened to be lucky enough to begin following it during an awesome time to be a Blackhawks fan.

What I don’t understand is this concept of limiting the peer group. Blackhawks fans seemingly shun newcomers and look down on them with an air of superiority: “Oh, you just started watching hockey and have a Patrick Kane jersey? I’ve been a fan before you could even watch them on television!”

Why would someone who seemingly supports and wants a product to succeed wish that its biggest resource for growth be limited?

More fans equals more tickets sold, equals more merchandise sold, equals more money, equals better players and more ease to hand out contracts.

Obviously, the more success the team finds, the easier it is to label someone as a “bandwagon” fan, but honestly, who wouldn’t want to be involved in something as cool as what the Hawks are currently doing?

So ye old grizzled Blackhawks fans, I implore you: Set aside your judgments and open up that fence that separates yourself and other “true” fans from the newcomers.

With the talent the Hawks have shown this season, the odds of an extended playoff run remains a distinct possibility. There needs to be someone to buy overpriced Stanley Cup memorabilia.