By Sarah Kraus, Staff Contributor
Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about a lack of fan support for local teams, like the Mooseheads, the Rainmen, or the Tigers. With the proposal for a new stadium on the table, and the potential for Halifax to help host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, local politicians are asking themselves how much Haligonians really care about sports. So what are we saying?
As students, we often don’t have the money to invest in season tickets or buy all the latest fan memorabilia. Instead, we take in free games at the DalPlex or Wickwire. If you go often enough, it’s natural to want to see your team through to the final. But when the men’s basketball team earns a spot at CIS nationals, a lot of us grimace at the $18 price tag of a ticket to the Metro Centre.
So when I went to see the Tigers take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many students showed up. Decked out in yellow, with painted faces and noisy thunder-sticks, Dal students made it abundantly clear that they support their Tigers. In fact, almost 8,000 fans attended the first day of CIS Final 8 action.
Maybe supporting a varsity team is different from paying to see the Rainmen or Mooseheads play. Sure, a ticket for Mooseheads hockey will cost a student $10.75, and the price of a beer is more expensive than any bar I’ve ever been to, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a respectable fan base as well.
In 31 home games this season, the average Metro Centre attendance for a Mooseheads game is 5062. That’s an impressive turnout for a team that finished dead last in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the past two years.
It’s a well known fact that the Mooseheads lose, and lose often—so why do fans still support them?
For me, it’s all about the experience. I don’t go to the games with high expectations of seeing the home team win, but I do expect to have fun.
It’s exciting to see an open-ice hit, a skilful deke, or a beautiful passing sequence, but not all the action takes place when the teams are on the ice.
Whether it’s watching a shy six-year-old try to interview a player at the intermission, cheering on the Tim Hortons Timbits as they swarm the puck, waving my hands around like a lunatic trying to win a t-shirt or laughing at the embarrassing dad doing the pelvic thrust on the big screen—it’s all part of the experience.
Of course, I could spend my money on a ticket to the movies, or a fancy coffee at Starbucks, but I think I enjoy going to watch sports a whole lot more. Anyone with me?