Hey everybody I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve put up anything new on the site but I’ve been too busy planning my trip to Anaheim. I’ll be leaving in just five days!
Next Wednesday, February 3rd I’ll fly from South Dakota to Anaheim to take in the Ducks versus Red Wings game at the Honda Center. We have over 40 people joining me for a Ducks Tweetup which will include group rate tickets, merchandise giveaways, and a tour of the arena by Ducks blogger Adam Brady. I’m pretty excited.
To remind myself of why I became a Ducks fan I wanted to post this guest blog from Princess Duck, who wrote this for me after the Ducks won on January 1. Enjoy…
Ducks fans are not the biggest or largest fan base, and have never claimed to be. As Ducks fans we know exactly where we stand. We’re in a peculiar area for hockey that many purists claim shouldn’t happen. “If ice doesn’t form naturally in your area, you shouldn’t have a hockey team” gets thrown around quite often in our faces. And while ice doesn’t grow naturally an Anaheim, it does grow naturally in the region of Southern California. You just have to raise your elevation a little bit and head upwards to our great mountains. There you will find lots of natural ice and snow, and you can see those mountains directly from the Pond. It’s still referred to as “The Pond” by many, but it’s more widely known as Honda Center, now a days. There are others who combined the two in a compromise, and they call it the Ponda.
So in short, Ducks fans understand our position but don’t let that fool you. We’re not the largest or biggest fan base, but the fans we do have are right up there with the most die-hard and loyal. Bigger fan bases have a shload (I’m paraphrasing) of bandwagon variety fans. The “win and they will come” symptom. That happened to the Ducks for a while in 2007. The games were sold out for the whole season of 2007-08 season due to the cup win. But those days are done and those bandwagon pals are likely over in L.A. right now with L.A.’s recent and baffling success. They’ll probably be leaving there soon though since L.A. has been doing a skid and are only grasping 7th right now.
On the Ducks spectrum, we’re trying to figure out how we’re sitting in 13th place with (so far) 7 Olympians on our squad. But while the bandwagon crowd has thinned out the die-hards are still going to support the team we love. And we still manage to get 15,000 out of 17,714 into the seats, with our poor start to this season. And those who aren’t in the seats (let’s be real, it’s a bad economy) are watching on TV. There was a study released a while back that showed 2 teams had the highest ratings in watching the NHL on TV. I believe the one team was the Islanders (don’t quote me on that) and the other team? It was Ducks. So if our die-hards can’t afford their seats, they are at home watching on TV. It was a 300% increase from last year. I believe that has to be due to the economy. I personally know a chunk of Ducks fans who did not re-new their season seats due to this reason. They simply cannot afford them. I know they’re as die-hard as you can get, but when money gets in the way you can only do so much.
I can also say that John T. Meyer will not feel out of place being a Ducks fan in South Dakota. A large chunk of Ducks fans are from out of the area. We are talking about a fan base that is literally scattered throughout the entire world. I know of a certain fan over in Seoul, South Korea who has been waking up at 8am to tune into a Ducks game from the internet feeds. When the games are at 1pm here in Southern California, he’s waking up at 5am to watch. There’s a couple in England who are big Coventry Blaze fans, they also are huge Ducks fans and have flown out for the playoff games time and time again. There is a fan in Washington who is about as hardcore as you can get. Among other areas are Hawaii, New York, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, I’ll save some time and say there’s fans in 49 states. I’m not sure about Alaska, I haven’t personally seen a fan from Alaska, I wouldn’t doubt it though. Include Canada, Europe. We had a season seat holder who LIVES in France. He flies a lot for business and got season seats for when he would be in Anaheim. He made a lot of the games too. AND HE LIVES IN FRANCE. There’s Ducks fans in Australia and Mexico. So when John T. Meyer is watching games from South Dakota, he won’t be alone. I’m sure he could find some fans in South Dakota!
Our fans have also been made fun of for being “weak” as in we don’t give the opposing teams fans too much of a hard time. It’s easy for other fans to come into our building and not be harassed. I’m not sure that’s being weak, I think that’s having some class. Ducks fans like to go with the “respect us in our building and we will respect you”. Cross those lines and there might be some trouble but for the most part, there’s never much of any trouble. Ducks fans are at the game to watch our team play, not to start trouble with opposing fans. If you were to go to San Jose, that’s different. If you are an opposing fan in their building, they will let you know it. There’s a ton of tension in that building if your not a SJ fan. It makes for an uncomfortable game watching experience, but it does feel good to win there. I have a specific memory from that place. The Ducks beat the Sharks 5 – 2 right before the playoffs last spring. A SJ fan shouted “have fun watching us in the playoffs”. At that point in time the Ducks had not secured a playoff spot yet. A week and a half later the Ducks were facing those same Sharks in the playoffs, and I have to admit. I had a lot of fun watching the Sharks in the playoffs. The Ducks ousted them in the first round.
You see as a Ducks fan you have to bite your tongue a lot, because it’s easy for the other fans to harass you. But in the end the Ducks team helps you to have the last laugh. Other fans hate our team because our team is good. It’s a defense mechanism. At one point or another the Ducks have burned their team and it embarrasses them. We’re a team that was formed from Disney and other teams can’t let that go. The Ducks are no longer owned by Disney but you wouldn’t know that by the insults thrown out year in and year out. It stings them when our “Disney Ducks” beat their team.
I’m not going to candy coat things, I’m going to get you prepared for what you are in for as a Ducks fan. It’s not roses and lollypops. You will get a lot of flack for being a Ducks fan, but you will also get satisfaction. The team is a good team, and when they are on their game they are tough to beat. If they make the playoffs they are feared. Any hockey fan out there knows that they don’t want to see the Ducks in the playoffs. SJ thought they did but learned a harsh reality lesson last spring. And while Detroit did take us out, we took them to 7 games, and down to the last few minutes, and to ONE goal. That was a bitter pill to swallow, but the fact remains the same, we made Detroit sweat and put fear in their minds, and came just 1 goal away from going to the Western Conference Finals. This team is why it’s much easier to be a Ducks fan. We can handle the harassment from the other fan bases because we know we can get the last laugh.
Now to prepare you for this season we are currently in. It started off piss poor. Excuse my language. If it was a firecracker, it’d be a dud. Nobody can really figure out why. There’s a lot of finger pointing going on but nobody really knows why. Truth be told though, it’s just the way it is. However, as of late, they have been finally getting things turned around. They’re figuring out how to get the wins stringed together, and they are most definitely the last team I would consider OUT of the playoff race. If any team were to rally back and make a playoff spot, it’s the Ducks. Right now the Ducks are just taking on the battle of the injury bug. I think most teams are taking on the injury bug. Soon the Olympics will be here and a good chunk of our team will be playing in them for their respective countries. So far Scott Niedermeyer (who was also named Team Canada’s Captain), Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf are playing for Canada. Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are playing for Finland. Our goalie Jonas Hiller will be playing for Switzerland. Ducks Prospect Luca Sbisa will be playing for Italy. They haven’t announced American’s roster yet but that should include Bobby Ryan and I’ve heard rumblings of Ryan Whitney as well. That’s 9 Ducks in the Olympics. I fully believe that this Olympic trip will help fire them up and get them ready for the big push they need to grab themselves a playoff spot. While other teams will have many sitting around not playing games for two weeks, we have 9 of our MAIN players out there playing and hopefully winning. You could ask any NHLer … they can practice all they want during this Olympic break, but it’s not the same as getting out and playing a game.
I hope this was enough of an overview of what you are in for should you become a Ducks fan. I hope it excites you. And I hope it was a good argument as to why you will love being one. I know I pointed out negatives, but the positives I pointed out strongly outweigh the negatives.
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