Today the Stanley Cup Finals begin in Chicago, and for true hockey fans, this year’s championship series is extra special. That’s because when the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins, it will be a showdown between two Original Six teams. According to my sources, the Original Six is a nickname given to the six hockey teams that made up the NHL from 1942 until the expansion in 1967. They aren’t actually the complete list of the original teams, but in hockey sometimes things don’t need to make sense.
Real hockey fans adore the Original Six, and find it somehow better to watch them play than other teams that may be more talented. Why? Well, because hockey fans are a lot like hipsters.
Hockey fans wear flannel, have ridiculous facial hair, and, more importantly, love to talk about how cool something is that most of us just don’t care about (hockey). What can be more hipster-y than for hockey fans to inexplicably claim to have a deep appreciation for an old versions of something even if it’s not that great (like, perhaps, clothes found at a thrift shop)?
Original Six fans all seem to have a certain level of respect for one another, while looking down on the (relatively) newer franchises. In this world, poser casual fans may like the Pittsburgh Penguins best, and that’s ok, but they just don’t understand what it’s like to be the fan of an original franchise like the Red Wings (even though Pittsburgh had a hockey team before the Red Wings existed. That team is somehow not considered among the group of originals).
Even fans of the other teams go along with it, looking up to and respecting the Original Six for no other reason than they were told those teams are somehow better just because they are old. As a result, hockey has developed a two-tier caste system, in which certain teams continually have a huge level of support and respect from the entire league, even if they haven’t done anything that would otherwise earn them any respect at all for over a decade (lookin’ at you, Toronto).
Personally, I think this age-ist discrimination is great. For no real reason, it makes games more exciting and gives support to teams without having to do tricky things like have talent. I think every other league should join in on this.
I don’t know if the Atlanta Braves need any extra support, but the way Chicago’s season is going, maybe the Cubs could use some extra love as members of the Major League Baseball’s Original Two (if not either of them, the Cubs were called The White Stockings at the time, and the White Sox could REALLY use some more fans. Maybe they should be the ones in the Original Two).
The NFL was founded by 16 teams that featured such names as the Triangles, Maroons, and Tigers (twice). Sadly, only two of these teams remain. Based on hockey’s rules, only teams that remain are remembered as starting the league, creating another Original Two. Those teams are the Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears) and the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals). Neither of these teams are the Green Bay Packers. So, for all you people that just like the Packers for no reason, stop. Direct that affection to Jay Cutler and Tyrann Mathieu, effective immediately.
Like with all things hipster, we, the masses, will eventually steal the style and make it our own. Then the hipsters, wanting to avoid being thought of as mainstream, begin to hate what they helped create. In this way, not long after our Original Twos gain popularity in baseball and football, hockey fans will begin to hate the Original Six.
So, hockey fans, get excited for our finals this year. If it’s this same matchup in a few years, you are going to hate it.