So you like hockey? Did you know there are multiple levels of fandom and they can all be categorized in terms of importance mostly based on their game day jersey selection? You need to learn what your jersey says about you to the judgemental late 20’s/early 30’s Penguins fan crowd.
You see the average Pens fan is willing to wait in the shorter line and settle for Bud Light and that is ok if you’re the type who likes to settle. Most of us will wait in the longer line for the better beer, but in general we are just better. The Bud Light fan will likely wear a Crosby, Malkin, or Orpik in black or blue, but not white. They are fairly current with their knowledge but don’t have an overall appreciation for the finer workings of what comes with committing yourself to become a diehard fanatic who lives their life to follow the flightless bird. They are not viewed as being down with the cause.
On the outer fringes of fan society is the renegade fan. The man who is very upset with management for cutting his favorite 4th line winger and has never stopped wearing their jersey as a statement. Consol Arena sees these usually creature like manimals hanging around the upper scaffolding with their Rusty Fitzgerald or Rico Fata jerseys proudly displayed. This group has also been known to begin “Bring back ____” chants that are often met with confusion about who the player was and when he originally played on the revolving door of a c list cast known as the early 2000 Penguins. Among players to have been honored with “Bring Back ____” chants are: Dave Roche, Lasse Pirjeta, Thomas Surovy, Nils Ekman, and Ville Nieminen.
The absolutely lucky crowd consists of the one or two fans who somehow got their hands on a rare Alexandre Daigle or Eric Cairns jersey and therefore are entitled to be bought beers for decades to come from the loyalists. Sidenote on Alexandre Daigle, he was the first overall selection in the 1993 draft. His Wikipedia page actually wraps up its bio with the sentence,
During the first NHL Lockout Eric Cairns lost his mind while playing overseas in England in a YouTube clip that is worthy of repeat viewings. Cairns punches refs, teammates, runs down the bench and clothes lines the opposing team putting on a performance that earned him a lifetime ban from Great Britain’s professional hockey league. Here is one of the greatest fights in hockey history.
The vintage Lemieux jersey crowd listens to Brand New and isn’t impressed with the team despite their recent dominance. If this subgroup of Penguins fans were a musical genre they would be mild hearted emo. The are sentimentalists and wear their hearts on their sleeve, of their Mario Lemieux jersey. (Mario’s Laval jersey is cool because it was his from when he was in the minors and few people have seen it.)
The Jagr jersey crowd likes to gamble and wear blue jeans or are kind of poor and found the jersey in a goodwill. Some are wearing it ironically as a tribute to managements failure to sign Jagr in Free Agency. Others go full on yinzer with it.
Fans who wear the mid nineties black jersey that had lettering on the front that existed during the corporate bird era are often doing so because they are fans of the rapper Snoop Dog. Some just are really big fans of players like Robert Lang and Joe Dziedzic. All however also like the band 311’s earlier albums.
The Billy Tibbetts jersey crowd are a crowd whose presence you should immediately excuse yourself from.
Shot history on Tibbetts: at 19 goes to prison for statutory rape and at 20 gets signed by the lowly Pens. Plays admirably for a while than gets traded to Flyers. With Philadelphia lasts 9 games and reportedly threatened Penguins players and their families via telephone before a Flyers = Penguins game. Was not always allowed in Canada.
One of the most intriguing crowds is the hateful towards a rival team jersey crew. They are often good people at heart who mean well.
The Obama jersey. You pretty much have to be Barack Obama to get this one. It was given to him when he invited the Penguins to the White House in 2009 after their Stanley Cup championship. He never wore it.
The Tom Kostopoulos jersey crowd is loyal. They remember the flash of greatness Tommy K showed when he shared a line with both Kris Beech and Mario Lemieux in a preseason exhibition game where Lemieux played for Scranton Wilkes Barre. I remember thinking he was a guy the Pens would keep around, only to see them let him leave via free agency to Los Angeles.
From that article is the Penguins opening night roster for the 2001 season:
Goalies — Johan Hedberg, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Sebastien Caron.
Forwards — Lemieux, Hrdina, Beech, Kostopoulos, Robert Lang, Martin Straka, Alexei Kovalev, Kevin Stevens, Stephane Richer, Aleksey Morozov, Milan Kraft, Dan Lacouture, Krzysztof Oliwa, Eric Meloche, Michal Sivek, Toby Petersen, Billy Tibbetts, Shane Endicott and Bob Errey.
Defensemen — Darius Kasparaitis, Andrew Ference, Hans Jonsson, Michal Rozsival, Josef Melichar, Ian Moran, Ross Lupaschuk, Brooks Orpik, Michel Petit and Mike Wilson.
SIdenote: In February of 2008, while playing for the Canadiens, Tom Kostopoulos was arrested at a South Tampa strip club with teammate Ryan O’Byrne for grand theft and resisting arrest. Here is his mug shot.
Top 3 Jerseys I would want to wear at Consol Energy Center.
Darius Kasparaitis CCCP Jersey
What this says about you: You know your hockey history and you value the importance of the international game. You supported the Penguins a t a time when they were not winning Stanley Cups, showing you are a loyal fan.
Chris Kunitz Ferris State
What this says about you: You really like Chris Kunitz, you really like college hockey and you are liekly very lonely on the weekends. This is a very serious hockey jersey, for the thinkers of the crowd.
Mario Lemieux Laval Voisins Hockey Jersey
This might be the coolest hockey jersey I have ever seen and if you are looking for a new sweater for the 2013 season may I suggest this. It’s currently available on eBay for $39.95.