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Tuesdays With Hildy: Me Tarzan, you hockey fan?

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Yes, more Americans are fans of professional football than any other sport.  Unfortunately, only 31% of Americans consider themselves fans of ice hockey.  Out of those fans, though, a very sizable percent are women (by default, number wise more women are football fans than hockey fans, but if I remember correctly a larger percentage of hockey fans are female than are football fans).  We have a few lady fans floating around these parts.  All of my friends that I have turned on to hockey since I've moved down here have been girls.  The number of female fans are so prevalent that the Washington Capitals even have a ladies' website, Club Scarlet.  The photos of Mike Green are delish.

Honestly though, women hockey fans don't care about the sport for the guys.  Yes, we might be able to look at, say, David Backes and go "well, he's nice looking."  But that's not why we like him.  We know his stats, we know his propensity to try to kill Canadian Olympians.  Puckbunnies like the guys because they're hot, rich, and have a big... um... car.  They're groupies.  They're the girls you see at games in January looking like they just wandered in off of a streetcorner.  You know they're cold, and probably miserable, but they think they're hot shit, because every guy in the arena is looking at them.  Yeah. there might be some lust in there, but 95% of those guys are probably thinking "God, what a dumbass.  It's 15 degrees outside.  Puckbunny."

Women fans love the sport.  There's a reason behind it.

Let me begin this with a disclaimer for those of you readers who are not regulars.  I hate pink jerseys.  I really abhor puckbunnies.  Girls who prattle on about how hot so and so is make me want to throw things.  I am absolutely not one of those people.  I like the stats, the grace, the grit, the speed, and the fun of hockey.  I had a crush on Mario Lemeuix and Patrick Roy when I was a kid not because they were cute (my GOD, look at Roy's hair in the early 90s), but because they were amazing hockey players.  The things I was seeing on the ice were mesmerizing.  Is Roy batshit crazy?  Duh.  Do I want to marry him?  Hell no.  Can I get into an argument with you about why he's a better goalie than Brodeur?  Absolutely.

Why?  Why are there so many women (and admit it, there are quite a few) who blog for hockey websites?  Look at the roll call on some sites like The Hockey Writers and Hendrick's Hockey.  Lots of the people who cover the teams are women, and they write some good stuff.  What is it about this sport (and I guess sports in general, though I'm not sure how this applies to stuff like golf and basketball)?  Honestly, it's just basic psychology.

Men and women look for particular characteristics in a mate.  Men, and I'm NOT being stereotypical with this, look for younger women.  They can bare children, obviously, and their kids have a higher chance of being healthy.  Women, look for older men (usually) who can provide long term for their children.  Usually they have a stable job and have a large income by modern standards.

But let's look at some non-modern standards as well.  In the wild, how do rams compete for mates?  How about alpha male gorillas?  They impress the lady primates by beating the hell out of smaller little monkeys, much like David Backes did to Jonathan Toews.  How many ladies looked at Toews and went "Da-mn!  That little guy over there throwing up?  I am SO impressed by that"?  If you did, don't admit it.  Please.

No, women are impressed by the guys who can defend their territory, and by defending that territory by proxy means that the women will be defended.  Yes, I know that Cam Janssen won't drive me home and walk me to my front door after a game just because he tried to kill Steve Ott.  But him standing up at home, defending "his territory" from a lesser rival and winning, well, ladies like that.  People like that.  No one's going to bitch that Janssen fought on home ice.  Next time that happens, look around at the people in the seats - every single person is standing.  But really look closer at that crowd.  Who's cheering the loudest?  Who're the ones yelling "Kick his ASS, Cam!"?  Yep.  Women.

Most women like to pretend we dislike violence.  My friends who go to games with me are the exception, especially my best friend, who is the most violent hot chick you will ever meet.  But we're really genetically wired to approve of fighting, especially when territorial claims are at stake.  Some women look at this and want to land an easy mate (for a night), and that's probably a personality thing.  Most puck bunnies I've met aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.  Women who are bright enough to understand basic rules, statistics, and ability, well, they're hockey fans, and they're using their evolutionary traits for good, not pink jersey evil.