TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 17: A fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning waves a flag after a goal against the Florida Panthers October 17, 2011 at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
As Christmas nears closer, it's the time of year where families take part in their favorite traditions.
Hockey is certainly a sport that has a lot of traditions. Goal horns, throwing stuff on the ice after goals (or uproariously bad calls), chants, songs after goals, the wave, calling the ref an A-hole, the list goes on and on. Some traditions are honorable, some silly, some meant to mess with opponents. And with modern technology growing, new traditions are being created (and overdone) every year. Looking at you, Winter Classic.
In fact, one could argue that the way the Lightning are playing right now is considered tradition.
Personally, my favorite tradition is booing a hated player every time he touches the puck. We all know that any player will tell you that it doesn't bother them, or that they're so focused on the game that they don't even notice.
Yeah right. I don't care how intense you are, if you gather 20,000 people together and have them boo, you're going to hear it. Sure, there are some guys who will gain motivation from that, but there are just as many fragile psyches who are going to get thrown off by that. My favorite part of it is letting that guy know just how much I don't care for him. That is always fun.
What about you? What's your favorite hockey ritual? Staff answers after the jump, yours in the comments!
Cassie McClellan - Managing Editor / Raw Charge
The hockey tradition that gets me the most excited is when both the Canadian & American national anthems are played. That's probably because I like "O Canada" much more than "The Star-Spangled Banner". At least, it's much harder to butcher. I don't know why it makes me so happy when it happens, but it does.
I realize that it's pretty much a North American thing - a German friend of mine was stunned that we did that here, actually - but I guess I'd miss the anthems if they didn't happen before a game. It just seems like you should start off a game with something before play starts, but maybe that's because it's what I'm used to. Starting a game without warning just seems so...I don't know...abrupt.
I keep meaning to memorize the French version of "O Canada", but haven't quite gotten around to that just yet.
Clare Austin - Staff Writer
I think my favorite hockey tradition is probably simply having hockey traditions. I love it when fans develop unique cheers; I love coming up with nicknames for players and coaches; I love when Mishkin screams "SCOOOOOOOOOOORE!!!" I love that hockey teams and players have goal songs (yes, even Chelsea Dagger). I love handshake lines and Stanley Cup presentations. (Note: I don't like booing during shootouts. That seems unnecessarily contemptuous to me.) I love making up signs to carry to the rink. I love that hundreds of people line up for hours to see and touch the Stanley Cup when it comes to town. There are probably things that happen solely because of tradition that I don't even notice because I'm so accustomed to them.
The very best tradition, though, is the one where the Lightning put more pucks in the back of the net than the other team.
Clark Brooks - Staff Writer / Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness
1. My favorite tradition is probably too new and not well-known enough to be considered a real tradition, but when I'm in the press box at home games, just prior to the third period starting, a group of fans in section 311 and I wave at each other. Somehow, it's become known on Twitter as the #Thunderwave. It's not really a superstition, as the team doesn't have a better record when we do it, it's just something fun to do. I like it because there is sort of a curtain that seperates fans from those on the "inside" of the game, whether they be players, coaches, team officials or members of the media. Being as Raw Charge is a blog by and for Lightning fans and the team gives us access, I try to take whatever steps (within reason and remaining professional) to let our readers come inside too. Whether that's looking for trending topics in the game threads to pose questions to the players and coach Boucher postgame or just waving hi to folks between periods, we as fans have a pretty unique opportunity to get close to our favorite team. We should have as much fun with it as possible.
2. My favorite tradition used to be pre- and post-gaming at Newk's (R.I.P.) but my new favorite is the honoring of the Lightning Community Hero during the first period of every home game. Some of the stories of these people are incredible. I get goosebumps when the crowd gives them a standing ovation and you see the players on both benches watching the presentation on the scoreboard and acknowledging with the traditional banging of sticks. It's true we follow sports as a form of escapism but it's also nice to know that it can be part of something bigger than that in a positive way. This either means I am maturing into a more responsible and socially conscious adult or that the void left by the absence of Newk's is pretty significant.
Here's my answer:
1. I love the white towels during playoffs
2. Hats raining down during hattricks
3. The one day with the Cup each player gets during the summer
4. When fans in Vancouver sings O Canada along with the Mark Donnelly at a Saturday night game
5. The hockey handshake
6. Watching HNIC
7. Yes it's a media spectacle and caaasshhh-grab, but watching the Winter Classic while eating your breakfast (I live on the Westcoast) while hungover is becoming a great tradition
John Fontana - Managing Editor / Raw Charge
Traditions... Traditions... You know, it's funny, the NHL changes itself so often that true traditions are hard to come by. Sure, any fan will talk about the age old traditions -- the hat trick, the post-series handshake in the playoffs, things with The Cup -- but beyond that? Do things stay so constant in the league that they can become tradition?
With the Bolts, it's all new traditions... I like the mid-ice fan salute, following wins. That came to be from Guy Boucher. Will it remain after Boucher leaves? It depends on how strong a tradition it becomes. Don't-walk-on-the-logo in the locker-room is a tradition that most fans don't get to interact with first hand.
There's a tradition, and this time of year is when it comes out, that I get a kick out of in Junior hockey and the minor leagues: The annual Teddy Bear Toss. I'm not sure where it started, though I hear about it came from the Western Hockey League. The gist is, fans bring stuffed animals to donate to charity for the holidays to a game - for donation. Then after the 1st period, fans throw the teddy bears onto the ice and the team and arena staff collect them. That's an original and fun way of donating, if you ask me.