Time To Heckle

January 19, 2013

Torah Kachur


Hockey is BACK!  Canadians and, well, that's about it, are ecstatic about the return of the NHL.  Some of us are ecstatic to watch the fast paced, hard hitting and slap-shotting sport hit the ice again, others are ecstatic to have their team ruin their lives....again.


Us hockey fans aren't known for our demure behaviour and polite golf claps, we are house-rocking, foul-mouthed, get-off-the-ice-you-hoser-yelling passionate canuckians.  There's a bit of bonding that goes on in rinks with the slow chant of the goalie's name or the heckling of the opposing team.  But why do we do it?

A team of psychologists looked at the personal motivations behind why we, as hockey fans, engage in what they call 'derogatory behaviour'....I just call it fun.


Through a series of questionnaires that asked fans to rank comments like "because this allows me to be recognized socially" or "because these behaviours allow me to obtain things that are important to me" they rated the motivations behind the cat calls, heckles, whistles and bottle-throwing that happens in NHL rinks across the league.


Turns out, fans that want to rant and rave against the other team are more likely to report a positive well-being and more importantly, a greater social identity with the home team.  In contrast, the wimpy fans who feel bad for the other team but chant and boo anyways are less likely to report a positive well-being and less likely to engage in so-called derogatory behaviours.  But, even the individuals succumbing to peer pressure still reported a bit of increased connection with their team.


Booing to support is kinda the name of the game here.  We truly believe that negative behaviours at the rink directed at the opposing team is helping the home squad and is a show of loyalty to the hometown heroes. 


Science of the boos makes me want hockey back, right now!


Note:  This is NOT appropriate behaviour at TimBits games, 5 year olds will cry and likely wet their pants.  Save the boos for the pros and GAAAAAMMMMMEEEEE ONNNNNNNNNN


Amiot, C., Sansfaçon, S., & Louis, W. (2012). Uncovering Hockey Fans’ Motivations Behind their Derogatory Behaviors and how these Motives Predict Psychological Well-Being and Quality of Social Identity Psychology of Sport and Exercise DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.12.004



Email (optional)


© 2010 Science in Seconds. All rights reserved.     Disclaimer  |  Contact  |  Subscribe
Friend Science in Seconds on Facebook Follow Science in Seconds on Twitter Science in Seconds RSS Feed