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Dear NHL Marketing Department


To Whom it May Concern:

As a female hockey fan I often find myself scratching my head and going huh? No, not because of the plays, the calls (though the officiating is a WHOLE different story), or anything else game related. No, my confusion stems from the lack of understanding the NHL has on the female fan.

What is it that mystifies those in New York City and Toronto about the female fanbase that it has acquired? What is so hard for them to figure out what we do and do not want to purchase? How difficult is it to figure out how we want to be treated? Apparently it’s very hard as even the Executive VP of Marketing doesn’t ‘get’ us.

Brian Jennings, the NHL’s executive vice president of marketing, attributes the growth in female viewership to the iconic teams in this year’s playoffs—still left standing are the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, who will face off in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night on Versus—and the sport’s “entertaining and unpredictable” nature. But even Jennings concedes that it doesn’t hurt to have younger stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Mike Cammalleri, and Zach Parise, who are good-looking and articulate.

I personally am not trying to ‘get’ with any professional player. I am not day dreaming about them, buying their posters and hanging them on my wall, or secretly planning our wedding. When I think of meeting players I think of the questions I want to ask them not the way to seduce them. Is it really so difficult for the NHL to realize that not all of us want to ‘bed’ the young stars of today? Is it beyond their grasp of understanding that there can be admiration and respect for young players without psychotic stalker behavior?

I do not buy pink jerseys, I do not buy shirts with glitter, or shirts that are girlie colors that have nothing to do with my team. The NHL provides me with little options to purchase shirts that are equivalent to the men’s version in different sizes. Do they ever wonder why they are constantly selling ‘Smalls’? Most guy fans wouldn’t wear a small if they can help it, so just who do they think are buying those shirts?

They want so badly to market to me and other female fans, and somehow keep missing the mark. When the NHL targets these puck bunnies, these female bandwagon fans they only anger those of us who have been cheering our teams since before it was ‘cool’ to. We know the difference between a forecheck and a backcheck. Why Butterfly style is superior to Hybrid style. We can name the ‘ugly’ players and the ‘cute’ players. We know who the greats were without Wikipedia-ing them. There’s nothing male hockey fans have on us, except we have superior style and have to wait in longer lines to go to the bathroom at the game.

So here’s a free tip from me to you Brian Jennings: Separate is NOT equal. First you have to respect us as fans. Period. Treating us as anything other than equally intense and knowledgable about the sport of hockey only hurts you and angers us. Step two: You have to give us options to support our team in a non-Puck Bunny manner. After that you merely sit back, relax, and enjoy the surge in revenue from giving your die-hard female fans the gear they can actually wear.

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Categories: NHL
  1. Pam
    June 4, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I so agree with this article. Do you know how difficult it is to find a jersey in a small? The only option is to look in children’s sizes and hope they have an XL. We don’t want pink, we want our team’s colors and styles in our sizes. How difficult is that to understand?

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