Banners on the Wall, I've been able to get the streaming feed. While I haven't been able to understand much of what the commentators are saying (proving that those Rosetta Stone programs will do nothing for me); the atmosphere is something that translates all over the place.
The European hockey fans are those who are actually much more into the game than their North American counterpoints. Most of them are standing up during play, the have percussion instruments and organized chants to keep the energy up, they know what to do in order to get their team going and to maybe distract the other teams. I would say they are a combination of European soccer (or football, as they call it) fans and college basketball student sections-- totally into it regardless of the score or who they are playing, as well as to know the sport on a higher level than casual.
When it comes to the North American fan-- the passion is there, you can see it on Twitter and blogs-- but the actual game atmosphere seems to fall short. I don't know what there is about fans and being as reserved as they are; but with the passion many carry for the game, I am surprised about how little that translates to the live experience. Has the game become "too corporate" that the real fans can't be rowdy as they want to be?? Does the music being at an ungodly level during stoppages kill the fans habits?? Or is it just not accepted across the board from their peers that if fans start to do something out of the ordinary-- they'll be shunned and ridiculed?? Hell, even dance teams-- which are universally shunned in NHL arenas-- are very rampant in European arenas. The common defense is that if fans need to be hyped up like that, they shouldn't be there. Well, I haven't heard much hype in NHL arenas, dance team/ice girls or not.
Regardless of the case, the joy of watching European sports is the passion of it all. Most of these cities don't have much else aside from these teams, so the hysteria could be due to a strong hometown pride to it all; but even so-- would you think that many North American fans would be proud of their teams as much?? I know a lot of minor league fans have a stark pride with their area and would defend their team to the death, as well as tracking former players who made it big and taking credit for it-- which in part they should, because they saw them from a younger age and saw them evolve. That is a case for the European squads, who have their players who are mostly from the country they play in, take to the fans and the pride. Even the North American players who come over get entrenched in the culture and area and embrace the fans and their passion for the team-- hoping not to let them down.
I should say all North American fans are quiet-- as the US College Hockey scene does have the same atmosphere as the basketball or football counterparts at time. The student sections often have a lot of high energy during the game, as well as marching bands there to give things more of an unique feel to the game to their professional counterparts.
In the end, it's not to say that the North American fans are bad in what they do, as there are a bunch of crazies in every arena trying to hype up the rest of the crowd-- sometimes to no avail, but it just seems that the game would be so much more entertaining in the stands if you had a variety of things going on in the stands while paying attention to the game action. It would also give more of a home-ice advantage to the teams if they had their own drum corps there to hype up the crowd and team. More players may want to play in that kind of atmosphere; but it could also shy some away when it came to trades or free agency.
No clue what the point of this whole thing was.....but.....that goes for most of this blog, huh??