Like the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks are off to a very impressive start this season. Both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are making it next to impossible for Team Canada management to pass them over for the Olympic team and as a result, Ducks fans are coming out of the woodwork.
While it was nearly seven years ago, I remember Anaheim’s Stanley Cup run like it was yesterday. While Scott Niedermayer’s graying beard and George Parros’s mustache were hard to miss in 2007, so was the sudden outbreak of the Ducks’ so-called “faithful”.
I seem to remember during the franchise’s low points when the Honda Center (or Arrowhead Pond as it was called before) would be lucky to draw flies. Even when there was a spring-long party indoors during the latter stages of the 2007 playoffs, the celebration barely went beyond the parking lot. And Snoop Dogg was there sporting the Ducks jersey. Snoop Dogg? He’s known for many things but being a hockey fan is not one of them. His presence at the Honda Center in 2007 was akin to Hulk Hogan’s in Tampa in 2004 en route to the Lightning’s championship run.
Even this season, Kings broadcaster Bob Miller alluded to all the empty seats at the Honda Center when the Kings were visiting last week – and the Ducks are 10-0-2 on home ice! What else does this team have to do to attract fans?
Since 2007, however, there were those bragging rights that those Ducks “fans” have laid on Kings fans for not winning the Stanley Cup unlike their team. But in 2012, that all changed which led Kings fans to invent a mantra: “You may’ve won it first, but we won it better.”
Never mind that the 2012 Kings rolled through the playoffs setting quite a few team records but their Stanley Cup parade drew approximately 250,000 fans. Even if you subtract the bandwagoners, the turnout equates to well over 200,000. Heck, it’s more than 245,000. When the Ducks had their Stanley Cup parade in 2007, they celebrated with 25,000 fans. You do the math.
And then there’s the constant bashing from the Ducks fans. Okay, the Kings fans do it too but come on, when Ducks fans turn terrible trash-talking into an art form.
Some classic lines include, Yeah, well, we won the Cup first; No Kings No; and the much-too-easy approach of calling the Kings the “Queens”, which is supposed to be insulting I suppose except for the fact that – Kings fan Christie Santos was gracious enough to point this out – “RuPaul is a queen and she rocks. Bloody Mary was a queen and she's pretty badass. Queen Elizabeth is pretty awesome.”
Miss Santos then followed that up with one very important question to Ducks fans everywhere:
Tell me, my little darlings, which part of 'Queen' is insulting?"
And let’s not forget Anaheim’s TV colour commentators Bryan Hawyard who despite never playing for the Ducks during his playing career has to be one of the, if not the most, biased broadcasters in the game. At least Los Angeles’s colour man Jim Fox gives the opposing teams their due – and Fox played his entire NHL career with the Kings so few can blame him if he was even just a bit of a homer.
If you were to write a letter to Mr. Hawyard, you'd have to address it "Patrick Roy's shadow" since that's where he lived for the bulk of his playing career.
So many Kings fans have claimed that they have never had an intelligent conversation with a Ducks fan and at first, I thought that was just their competitive spirit talking. Then, I met a few Ducks fans and I found out first-hand just how challenging it was to discuss hockey. That alone should speak volumes.
Baseball has the Yankees and Red Sox, the English Premiership has Manchester United and Arsenal and the NHL has the Kings and Ducks. While it not be front-and-center on the league’s radar, it is evident just how much contempt these two teams have for each other – and that goes especially for the respective fan bases.
Even if the Kings were still the league’s bottom-feeders, nothing would bring the Kingdom more joy than beating the hated Ducks – and who can possibly blame them?
So, as we close out 2013, let us celebrate Festivus by airing out our grievances for the fanbase of the Anaheim Ducks.