The following is a letter sent to the Guelph Mercury today
To Guelph Fans, Rangers Fans and Wannabe’s
Since I was seven and for the nearly 45 years since then, I have known the sport of Hockey to be the sport of gentlemen and ladies with the right bit of an edge. It’s not about being abusive in the stands and making visitors to our community and other teams feel unwelcomed, antagonized or even fearful for their personal well-being and safety. We now know there were a discernible number of folks at the recent playoff games on Friday and Sunday who are perhaps beyond the edge who have lost sight of what the sport of hockey is about. They call themselves fans and should rethink their actions, their ignorance and their general disrespect for all things good about the sport of Hockey and our community.
I’m talking about the folks who abused the Guelph fans proudly wearing their storm colours, the Guelph coaching staff on the bench and their players on both sides of the ice at the Players bench, in the hallway to the dressing room and in the penalty box area, some even behind me where I sit regularly to enjoy the spirited but respectful game of hockey. The players are young impressionable men who we wish to represent us on the world stage at some level and to represent us well as Canadians. We make our point on the ice by playing the best we can and showing what Canadian Hockey is all about. Win or Lose. Our Rangers are coached to be disciplined and that is abundantly clear on most days but the fans are not.
I am truly ashamed of how a handful of folks, some wearing Rangers jerseys have shed a dim light on all of us who are proud of our community, our Rangers and what is good about Kitchener, the Rangers, the Auditorium and the OHL. A friendly and sometimes fierce rivalry does not need to be about ignorance, crude behaviour and at times downright criminal acts. As Canadians we promote fairness, spirited but friendly competition and sportsmanlike behaviour. Penalties are assessed to those that disrespect the rules and the good of the game. Look them up in the rule book. One such penalty is called unsportsmanlike conduct. I’m sure most of us know what that means. I’m pretty sure sportsmanship is also a large part of the motto of most hockey organizations.
Remember this the next time you choose to shout and threaten and embarrass us all as you are the minority and there is no place for you in the Rangers fan club and the home of our Kitchener Rangers. Please take your nonsense somewhere else; it is not wanted here.
To all the Guelph fans and Storm parents who endured our rude and disgusting behaviour I say we’re sorry. Please do not paint us all with the same brush. We are a good community with generally good ideals and we are human as we have shown. Give us a second chance to make a better first impression. We can’t stop being competitive but we can check our negative emotions at the door.
I am thankful our games were not telecast Nationwide on SportsNet for the whole country to see but they could have been. Let’s remember that as true fans and as our hockey club makes its best effort to find the road to the Memorial Cup. That is the ultimate goal, while embarrassing ourselves and our community is not. By all means we should play hard and play to win but we should never lose our respect for the game along the way.
Forgive us as well Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club as that is also not what you expected from us I’m sure.
A Proud Kitchener Rangers Fan