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The start of a new year is a time for reflecting back on the previous year as well as a time for looking forward.  New Year’s Resolutions are common at this time.  There’s even a Wikipedia page about them, so they’re a big deal.  According to that page, “Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals,” so it seems that resolutions have a lot in common with the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans.

But resolutions are often hard to come up with, so we’ve decided to list a few suggestions for hockey fans.  We’re going to try and follow these resolutions ourselves as well, but we can’t see ourselves falling into that 12%.  Change is difficult.

Cheer more when your team wins than when a rival loses

Sure, scoreboard watching is exciting, especially as the playoffs approach.  However, it seems that these days many fans would rather watch a hated rival fall in a blowout than see their own team succeed.  Yes, when the captain of an enemy franchise hasn’t scored in several games, it’s funny, but thinking positive and celebrating your own franchise’s success is even more fun.

Watch more games from “non-marquee teams”

Just because NBC and Versus won’t touch teams like the St. Louis Blues or Atlanta Thrashers with a ten-foot pole, it doesn’t mean their games aren’t interesting.  You just may find that some unknown players are incredibly entertaining and that there’s some great talent outside of the NHL’s major markets.  As an added bonus, watching these teams will help alleviate the “Crosby/Ovechkin burnout” that is common among the league’s fans.

Use fewer Leafs jokes as humour’s “get out of jail free” cards

We’re especially guilty of this one.  Whenever a quick joke is needed, it’s easy to pick on the Maple Leafs.  Just look at our opening paragraph.  In 2011, vow to use fewer 1967 or draft pick jokes for easy laughs.  Sure, everyone gets a chuckle out of the “Toronto Make Me Laughs,” but aim for a higher level of humour in the coming year.

Be more forgiving of the referees

In just about every game there’s a moment when you think the referees are out to screw your team.  It’s understandable.  After all, it’s only human nature to magnify the errors that are made against your team and ignore those that benefit you.  But, the next time a referee calls a cheap hooking penalty in overtime against your favourite player, think about how that same ref also ignored a slashing call in the first and try to forgive.  You’ll feel better about yourself and maybe even avoid a serious stress attack.

What are your hockey New Year’s Resolutions?