The NHL fanbase is a group of individuals that are some of the most passionate in all of sports and by those lines the most territorial and hostile towards opposing teams. If you dont believe me, go on Youtube and type in fan reactions in Philly, Montreal, or New York. However, in the land of Southern California with contains the Kingdom in the City of Angels and the land of Ducks formerly known as Mighty, home ice advantage tends to be very one sided. Whether it is recent success, fashion, or the continuing swing of popularity's pendilum, the Kings domain is very secure while the so called "Honda Center", (known as the Pond to non corperate sellouts), is somewhat of a free for all. Oh yeah, there are plenty of the black and orange faithful present, mixed in with the slightly stuborn jade and eggplant holdouts, yours truly included, that makes up the majority of Ducks' home games, but in contests against fellow Golden State rivals as well as national powers such as Detroit and Vancouver, rival chants and cheers are just as loud, if not louder, than the cheering from the locals. What is up with that?!
Hockey is a sport made up of cold weather hardcores, wearing sweaters of players long retired and cheering just as loud when out of town scores proclaim the loss of a rival as they would for a favorite player scoring. However, it is also made up of fair weather Playoff followers. We see them every April as they emerge from their winter slumber, just in time to enjoy the late season playoff run that the aforementioned fans went into cardiac arrest living and dying with on a daily basis. As a lifelong Ducks fan, these "fans" have been a sore spot for me. Personally, I have followed this team through the early playoff exits against Detroit in the late 90's and continuing years of dissapoinment to the Cinderella run in '03 and the magical year of 2007. I have all the the newspapers from both Cup runs and I have still defended my team against irritated Kings fans who still think this team is nothing but a failed Disney experiment. Therefore it gets under my skin when I watch Ducks playoff games and see the place sold out and so much "passion" and enthusiasm behind my team when in September, all I can hear at the Ducks-Kings preseason game is "Go Kings Go". Where is this April fire in the cold evenings of November and December?
I know this isn't a problem in Boston or Pittsburgh. You get pelted with beer and jeers at a Flyers game if your a Rangers fan or if you wear a Maple Leafs sweater to the Bell Centre in Montreal. This isn't even a problem in San Jose or at Staples. After all, the Sharks and Kings are in the same non traditional market boat as the Ducks, however this only sees to be a problem in Anaheim. Why? A few years ago, the Ducks had a streak for sold out home games before, during, and a little while after their 2007 championship. They had vanquished the stigma of being the "Disney" team with their Cup and has taken the crown of SoCal hockey from the Kings. But funny enough, as soon as the Kings became a playoff contender, the streak ended. The rowdy sold out crowds thinned out considerably. The usually all black and orange crowds were dotted and then patched with visting teams colors. Soon the Ducks, who went from laughing stock to Cup threat, was now relegated to the label of bandwagon team for the OC. And to be perfectly honest, I agree. Most Ducks "fans" I talk to outside of people of fan sites or those at games are seriously ignortant of both the team, it's history, and the game of hockey itself. This stereotype of the SoCal fair weather fan has become the image of what a Ducks fan is around the league. And I for one am sick of it. I hate flying my colors only to hear Predators fans that are louder than us in our own house!
Therefore, my point is that we as Ducks fans need to step it up. Plain and simple. The image behind that team of 2007 was a tough image and an ideal that we were the Black Bart to Detroit and Pitttsburgh's John Wayne. We need to take a lesson from the East Coast and Canadien fans than we need to make our home arena a loud and volitile place for the opostion. I'm not saying that we need to be douchebags and drink too much but the visiting team and fans need to know this is our house and not a place for them to sit back and relax and belittle the home team. Kings fans get it. I've been to Staples to see games against Anaheim and I never hear overwhelming chants for the Ducks. But this not the case at the Pond and so in other words, we need to make the Pond our house and remind the other guys that it is. Very loudly I might add.