I wasn’t originally going to post about this issue, but it’s been coming up more and more in my life lately, so I figure it’s destiny or something. So here it is: The Great Puckbunny Debate.
I don’t classify myself as a puckbunny – I don’t know any girl who does. I spend a significant amount of time talking with my friends and fellow Untypical Girls about how hot some player is, but we also spend a significant amount of time talking about how awesome/not awesome said player is. None of the girls I know got into hockey because the guys are hot (okay, so some of them are, but eventually they will all be missing their own teeth). If Mike Smith (or any other of the hockey players whose pictures are in frames in my apartment) came up to me and asked me to sleep with him, I wouldn’t turn him down. Not necessarily because he’s a hockey player, or even because he’s hot – I’m just kind of a ho. But being called a puckbunny makes me want to stab faces.
Being a female hockey fan is rough – way harder than people seem to think. Most people I encounter who aren’t sports fans just say “Well, you like hockey, that doesn’t make you any different.” To male hockey fans, though, it does. I go to games with my girlfriends – there are usually anywhere from 2 to 4 of us – and the looks we get are absolutely astounding. We generally get to the game reasonably early, do a lap around the fan shop, get some beer, and sit down. When male hockey fans pass us, we get the most incredulous, unbelievable looks. Guys will scoff at us, stare at us like we’re aliens, or glare. Once the first period starts, and we’re all cheering and shouting things about actual gameplay, we get even more incredulous looks. There are occasions where, during breaks in play, we’ll joke about such-and-such hottie – we’re glared at and called puckbunnies. During the next break, we’ll talk about so-and-so’s stats, and how he’s a great d-man or why they put some player on the same line as some other player, because they obviously have zero chemistry and the team is suffering for it. More incredulous looks.
What I want to know is, how is what we do any different from what male hockey fans do when they ogle the Ice Girls? Sure, the Ice Girls are pretty much there to be viewed as pieces of meat, but what is so different about guys salivating over Ice Girls, and us discussing the hotness of Mike Modano (which, by the way, has never happened – this is hypothetical)?
And Ice Girls. I’ve met all of the old Ice Girls for the Stars – the ones who have been there for at least a season or two. Most of them have been incredibly nice (I’m talking to you, Katy!), a couple have been less nice (I won’t name names because I’m kind of a lady). I don’t understand the concept of the Ice Girl. Certainly, they clear the ice around the nets, and that’s all well and good. I don’t know about other teams, but our Ice Girls have taken to dancing. DANCING. Which, by the way, they’re not all very good at. They have a stage under section 301 where they have their gold pom-poms and dance during breaks and timeouts, and it’s mildly infuriating to me. I would rather see more replays, or get some commentary from Ralph and Razor, or something actually hockey-related during said breaks.
Why does one become an Ice Girl? I mean, I would do it, because I’d get to go to games for free, which is enough reason in my book. Do they do it because they have nothing else to do, and they can skate (skating isn’t even a requirement to be an Ice Girl, which seems fairly ridiculous and contrary to the concept of being an ICE girl)? Do they do it because they want to be stared at and get attention from the men? Do they do it to get closer to the players? Or do they do it for the love of the game? I honestly don’t know, I’ve never asked them.
I suppose I’m fairly judging myself when it comes to puckbunnies. I don’t get all the puckbunny hatred – let the girls be, and they’ll eventually lose interest once David Beckham comes to town or something – but I get offended when I get called one. I try not to think of girls as puckbunnies, because the whole concept is really ridiculous to me anyway, but sometimes I can’t help but think it when I see girls at games.
I think this is a time when “Why Can’t We Be Friends” needs to be played. I long for the day when it’s not unusual to see women at a hockey game, wearing jerseys, cheering on their team and discussing stats with their friends. Maybe someday it’ll happen – maybe even in my lifetime – and when it does, I might pass out. If Joel Lundqvist could be there to catch me when I do, that will be fine.