Late to this, but thanks to Aaron the Outsider (only recently returned from his sabbatical chopping down oaks and turning them into guitars) in the comments, I've come across this filth from some pedant in Minnesota.
It's a list of the Top 10 Best and Worst Fan Bases in the NHL (even though it's not, really; it's actually a ranking of all the teams' fan bases). Wyshynski has already trashed it, which is exactly what this shit deserves, and, well...
This Derek Felska character made the same list last year; somehow it came to my attention and I wrote this:
I'm not really interested in where Atlanta ranks (#26) or where anyone else ranks, for that matter. What interests and appalls me is that commentators like Derek Felska (Minnesotan's name) talk about fan attendance and "hockey markets" in a vacuum, as if there are no external factors that influence fan turn-out or local press coverage...
But there's hope, hockey fans. You see, I've heard about this new invention called the Internet, and I'm aware there's a serious market for hockey coverage thereabouts. I suggest you look into it.
Which brings us to what really riles me about Felska's piece this time around:
#30 - Atlanta Thrashers - 9.2
Pct. of Capacity in 2008-09: 78.8% (14,626, 29th in the NHL) Online Presence: 3.2
Last Year's Rank: 26th
Justification: I am going to share a little story with you which will might explain why the Atlanta Thrashers are deserving of being called the league's worst fans. Just this spring, I went down Georgia as part of an Educators Tour to Ft. Benning. On our way back, we were given the day to enjoy downtown Atlanta. While there I went into a sports apparrel shop, which was filled with all sorts of Atlanta sports team clothing; Braves jerseys, Falcons jerseys, and some college football jerseys yet nowhere to be found was anything pertaining to the Thrashers. I asked the attendant, "Do you have any Atlanta Thrashers stuff" and I was met with a confused look and then a quick question to her co-worker, "Do we have any Thrashers stuff?" A few seconds later they pointed me to the only two items they had pertaining to the the Thrashers along with an explaination of how extremely rare it is anyone is looking for their merchandise. Now does that mean that there are almost no Thrashers fans out there? No, but in the larger scheme of things there does not appear to be too many. In a Southern city where its almost a challenge to find someone with a southern drawl, it might surprise people just how many Atlanta residents are people who used to live in areas which are quite familiar with snow and ice. The Thrashers online presence is very small and that does little to help a team that many in Atlanta seem to struggle to remember they are even there. That sound you just heard was Ilya Kovalchuk screaming over the fact he has at least one more season with the team.
Haw haw. In what fucking universe can the Thrashers' online presence be considered small?
What's really fucking amazing about this Felska character is that he freely admits to not really investigating team blogs and forums to get an adequate idea of "online presence" (follow the link and read his comments about last year's Dead Last Fans, those of the New Jersey Devils), but he trusts his arbitrary pseudo-scientific reasoning so perfectly that he can't be bothered to adapt his opinions when he encounters new facts.
One more thing: for a guy who fancies himself a thorough and comprehensive hockey mind, his writing, in style and thought, is fucking atrocious.
Perhaps in some way I was inspired by David Letterman's Top 10 list, but I can't stand his show with his lists being the one redeeming quality of it. I know I've used that concept for a few post-season banquet speeches at the conclusion of a sports season and admittedly its a very effective delivery style. Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) of Wayne's World fame used to also utilize their Top 10 lists and just like the shootout I can't pry myself away until its over. Hopefully 30 thru 11 has you captivated much the same way. While some hockey purists hate the shootout, how many of them shut the TV off during the shootout? Precisely. They don't, they watch with perhaps just slightly less interest than those who either have embraced it or the very least accepted it as a way to conclude a regular season game. Before I go too far off on a tangent about the shootout I will redirect this back to the main point of this series.
Is there really a definitive way to determine whose fans are the best?
In all honesty, I don't really believe there is.
This is really beyond commentary, so I'll just stick to matters of taste: This dude hates David Letterman but actually enjoys the Top 10 list. I repeat: he hates David Letterman but actually enjoys the Top 10 list.
I rest my case.