Penguins were last in NHL attendance in 2003-04, proving once and for all that…

Penguins were last in NHL attendance in 2003-04, proving once and for all that…

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That there are bandwagon fans in every city. I get it, it’s OK.
I’m happy to have heard from a lot of Pittsburghers today, even though many of the comments were not fit for a family publication. It’s OK, I can take it. Water off a duck’s back anyway. I love Pittsburgh as a city actually. I’m surprised anyone would leave. My folks lived in Wexford, a suburb of Pittsburgh, a few years ago, and I got to see a lot of the area. Really nice.

It’s a free country. Show up to an opposing arena with the jersey of your team? It’s fine really. If the seats were available to purchase, have at it. If Avs fans can’t fill the seats of their own building, like last night against the Penguins, then they get what they got: a building full of people cheering for the other team. Sites like StubHub have made it very possible to do that now, and here is an interesting article about the phenomenon.

But I still think most of these types of fans look a bit silly. And I mean that in a “it’s just sports, who cares really?” sense. Maybe calling them “dorkish” was a bit of a cheapie by me. I accept a two-minute minor for that. But my point is: They are bandwagoners, plain and simple. Denver has a ton of them too, so no self-righteousness here on the topic. It’s the way it is, and that’s fine. But I would wager that 95 percent of the so-called loyal and fervent Penguins fans in attendance last night at the Pepsi Center – and that’s all I was told by the many who responded to my blog from last night – didn’t want their names and faces associated with any Penguins jerseys eight years ago.

I cite the attendance numbers of the NHL in the 2003-04 season as Exhibit A. The Penguins were dead last in home attendance that season. Here, look it up. The year before, they were 25th.

I’m embarrassed for the many Pens fans who came on this site and to my inbox today lecturing the Avalanche fan base for being bad fans, and for Denver not being a supportive hockey market like Pittsburgh. Hey, where were you guys before your team lucked out in the draft lottery the year Sidney Crosby was eligible to be picked? Uh huh.

You love the team from where you grew up? Awesome, me too. But I live in COLORADO now, and have for 21 years. I respect the place I live, and the people who live here with me. I’m not going to drone on and on and on ever again about the Boston teams I grew up worshiping in my youth, as a New Hampshire resident. It’s obnoxious. I get it now.

That’s just my choice. Others are free to do the opposite. It’s a transient world we live in now, I get it. We’re all mostly from somewhere else. The Penguins are a top team now, and have been for a while since they got Crosby. A lot of Pittsburgh transplants came out in force last night with their jerseys on and loudly proclaimed what wonderful and loyal fans they always have been and always will be.

Just don’t break your ankles jumping off the bandwagon when the team goes back in the ditch some day, and the Pens jerseys go back in the closet.

As reader “Steve” pointed out in a comment to this post, this indeed was the point of this one man’s opinion on this topic. I will repeat it here:
“I think Dater was merely pointing out a fact that Pens fans seem to be patting themselves on the back for being the “best fans in hockey,” and that really when it comes down to it they are no better than any other fan. They support their team in times of good which is great but they do forget that without winning the Crosby lottery they probably don’t have a team anymore. Detroit had horrible attendance for many years before their reemergence in the 90s and have since had fantastic attendance due to the quality of their team. The avs have had poor attendance the past few years but they have had a poor product on the ice. Truth be told, the avs set a record for consecutive sellouts while they were in their glory days. I think it all comes down to a lack of humility from opposing fans and a realization that a large portion of “Penguins Nation” couldn’t care less about the team before they lucked out with Crosby, which is typical of most professional franchises.”

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