Thank you all for the kind welcome you have given me to the hockey community. I couldn’t believe you went to all this trouble for little ol’ me. When I wrote my first piece, I expected the most controversy to come from me placing Kraken at the top, not my joke about being allergic to patriotism. (This would have been a whole different conversation if we were discussing the majestic Golden Eagle, but with the Golden Knights I know we wouldn’t be considering the superior bird.) I do also want to acknowledge the Tacoma Rainiers – I’m sorry I didn’t know you exist, but the only sports I care about are hockey and soccer, so unfortunately you slid under my radar.
I will now crow about my victory. I am overjoyed by the name Seattle Kraken. With serious jump around my apartment enthusiasm, I attempted to go on their merch website, but it was overloaded with too many fans and I couldn’t access it. (I love the sweaters by the way.) This name is above all going to be fun. I love the fact that this name is over the top ridiculous and wouldn’t have it any other way. I go to hockey to put away my anxiety, so I didn’t want a name that was too serious. This is perfect. The Great Pacific Octopus salutes us.
And maybe I just have a history with fictional characters as mascots, so find this comforting. My High School’s mascot was the White Hawks, which they made up when they got rid of the school’s original racist mascot. My college was the Gryphon’s – this was definitely an attempt to name us after Godric Gryffindor, but the school went with the more classical version of the name.
I would’ve been happy with any name except Totems. For those of you who still don’t understand why Totems is a racist name, I’ll give you another clue. The logo for the Totems is a reference to totem poles, which have no connection to the Indigenous Nations in Washington. Totem poles were stolen by white explorers traveling through Alaska and Canada and displayed here in Washington. You cannot “honor” a wide swath of Indigenous people by either claiming something from another tribe represents them or reminding a different group of a legacy stolen.
I want to drop the humor a bit – the comments on my previous article proved my point that women hockey fans aren’t made to feel welcome in this sport. Right off the bat people came out with comments about how I didn’t know anything about hockey or that I should go check myself into a psychiatric ward, simply for expressing an opinion. I freely admit that I’m not a number one expert in hockey – my knowledge of offsides comes from playing soccer and I have no idea what half of the statistics mean – but I find it fun to watch the sport and I’m a writer, so I wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece about potential names and people acted like I spat in their dinner.
This kind of reaction is something women who express interest in anything outside of the mainstream come to expect. We’re told we must prove ourselves or we’re not real fans. Guess what? Fans shouldn’t be excluded for being relatively new to the game, or not devoting their life to being an encyclopedia of hockey knowledge. (Also don’t get me started on expressing an interest in something men find “trashy”.)
For some people though, the issue wasn’t that I don’t know enough about hockey or that I’m a woman, it’s that I’m not the kind of woman they want as a hockey fan. I don’t check my personality and morals outside the gate when I enter the hockey world. Who I am as a person infuses everything I do, what I like, and what I tell others. When I hear about owners with a multimillion-dollar net worth refusing to pay arena workers for lost income due to COVID-19, that immediately makes me lose any respect for that team. When Gritty runs around with a Pride flag that has black and brown stripes on it, I admire the Flyers even more.
If I kept silent, I would’ve been accepted. In 2013, women represented up to 40% of the viewership of NHL games, yet the league does almost nothing to show support for women fans or do anything to encourage our participation. (Pink jerseys do not count.) When we don’t complain the league is happy enough to take our money. They raise us up as giving tacit approval of everything they do. When I joke about team names that would make me feel better as a fan, suddenly I’m not welcome in the space. And if my opinion about something so small causes this kind of reaction, you can extrapolate how fans in years past have responded to people writing about heftier penalties for players who use racial slurs or asking for any crumb of acknowledgement for women’s hockey players.
I’m coming to the Seattle hockey team earnestly trying to love them. I want them to be a team which I can be proud of supporting, that helps out in the community and acknowledges when they do something wrong, not a team where I continually have to put a caveat on my admiration of them. Right now, with the environmentally friendly arena, free mass-transit to games, the first female hockey scout, and the name Kraken, I’m happy to be a supporter of the team. I can’t wait for a chance to cheer, “Let’s get Kraken!” But I will always be looking for a joke or a chance to point out when a team or player’s action have consequences beyond the ice. I will be loud, you may find me obnoxious, but I’ll still be writing. If I can cause any change, all the better for it.
If you honestly hate me and want me gone though, I have good news – I’m starting a GoFundMe for anyone who would like to contribute to me leaving this city*. If it reaches 1 million dollars, I will find a new place to terrorize with all my opinions.
*These funds will be going to Black Girl Hockey Club and the Washington Wild.
Thanks Lily for another funny and thoughtful piece! Your heartfelt writing, and support of inclusion, is sorely needed in these divisive times.
I hope the Kraken and other teams around the league can work to earn more female fans like you. While I admire that your GoFundMe donations will be going to the Black Girl Hockey Club and the Washington Wild, I will not be donating; I think we need more of your writing in Seattle, not less! Keep up the good work.
We hope she sticks around as well…in fact, we might set up a reverse GoFundMe campaign to keep her here. 🙂
Your reads are like a conversation..doesn’t matter if some like/some don’t ..keep going.
gotta ask, as a single senior now, ‘puck bunny’ was a term of endearment in decades gone by,
for girls who like to watch hockey.. PC now or not?
Preach! I admire your resilience in the face of the sophomoric mysogynistic stupidity you were subjected to in the comments last time. Your voice is welcome here and I’ll be proud to wear the same Kraken colors as you next fall!
Thanks Don! I really appreciate your comment. Unfortunately Puck Bunny is not a good term to use at this point. Often women are called puck bunnies as a way to say they know nothing about hockey and just follow the sport because they want to sleep with the players.
I have found both your articles refreshing. It would be a loss to the Kraken if you were to leave. I hope your GoFundMe collect $999,999.99 so the money can go to a good cause, and you have to stay and support our new team.
Should re-name this article “why I wrote an incendiary article, and how I can use all the buzzwords in my vocabulary to make all my detractors out to be bigoted”. Your identity has nothing to do with why you wouldn’t be accepted as a hockey fan, it’s your inflated sense of self-worth and general poor character. No, totem poles are not racist, and no, your quip about patriotism was not a joke.
Nah, I’m pretty sure most of us will accept Lily just fine. It’s nice to hear different prospectives once in a while, even of you don’t agree with everything in the article. Plus, if you vehemently disagree with what Lily, John, or Andy write on their website, there’s lots of other hockey blogs or sites to visit.
Alejandro, I don’t think it’s wise to say an author who is clearly trying to learn more about the game has an “inflated sense of self-worth and general poor character.” In fact, I think that statement would apply more to the person who made that comment. Also, Lily did not say the existence of Totem Poles is racist. She implied the appropriation of them is racist.
Lily, Alejandro’s comment aside, I’m glad to see everyone coming around. Keep up the good work – I bet your interest in YA novels will help you give great descriptions of the mythical Kraken! Can’t wait to read more.
Astounding how you managed to miss or ignore every single point she made and also further prove why she needed to make them in the first place. Additionally, not really sure what you consider to be a buzzword, since this article is very accessible in terms of vocabulary. But keep trying to belittle her! I hope you take some time to reflect and figure out why you’re so offended by someone who’s proclaiming her excitement for the sport and this new team.
It’s easy to say “ignore the haters”, but of course, it is anything but. All I can do is say “welcome to the great sport of hockey!”, and I hope you’re in for life. Your writing is entertaining, so I hope you keep blogging.