The arena experience at NHL games can either be exhilarating or annoying, depending on a great many things. Having the team you root for winning the game certainly helps, as does having good company. Atmosphere is rarely lacking during games, but there are things that distract a person from what’s happening on the ice.
There are a few things that get to me during games,however. The things that I’ve heard the most from other fans are that the in-arena audio is too loud, team giveaways at the gate (such as noisemakers of varying sorts) can be distracting, the Wave, and specific songs that are played. And there is the ever-present complaint by many, mostly from women, as to why there are cheerleaders at hockey games.
A new one that I came across in San Jose was that you’re not supposed to lean forward in your seat during play. I guess the thought behind that is you’re obstructing someone’s view of the game if you do that. I have been told that there have been actual fights in the stands over people leaning forward in the seats there, which I think is a bit nutty.
My biggest personal pet peeves are the people who bang on the glass during games, overly loud in-arena audio (music, announcements, and otherwise), as well as those ridiculous group clapping things that arenas do to try to get fans into the game. That last one actually really annoys me. I mean, I’m not a trained seal taught to clap on command, so stop trying, you know?
A few other annoyances from my fellow writers are….
I get tired of dance cams when there's not an actual dance involved really quickly. I don't mind it when arenas play Cotton Eyed Joe or something like it and kids have fun doing a line dance. But I dislike it when they throw on some random track and tell the fans to dance. Women and girls dance suggestively, boys always seem to take their shirts off for no reason, and men act like idiots. You put people up on the scoreboard with unscripted dance music playing in the arena, and everyone loses their inhibitions in the worst possible way.
Oh! Oh! The "SHOOOOOT IT!"/"SHHHHOOOOOOTTTTT!" guy. STFU.
- Kiss-cams. You get people making out or being gross or homophobic jokes or two minutes of someone trying to get their friend's attention.
- Big hats and/or headdresses (like Blackhawk headdresses).
- People in spandex body suits gesticulating and gyrating up against the penalty box. The Predators actually have some interns do this.
- The guy who yells out "How much time is left in the period?" one second before the P.A. announcer says "This is the last minute of play in the period". Granted, it's pretty funny the first time you hear it but it's definitely a case of diminishing returns. If you've been to 100 games, you've probably heard it at least 50 times, which is about 40 times after its entertainment value has expired.
- Planted dancers. "Oh look it's an usher or a cotton candy vendor or a random fan who just happens to have three minutes of routine prepared in case we put one individual on camera for an extended period of time, which we never do but we are now."