A couple of days ago it was mentioned that the NHL had asked “the Green Men” in Vancouver to tone down their antics after receiving a complaint. It seems a little strange then that the front page of NHL.com would be promoting them as “Funny Fans” earlier today.
The league website even put together a video that highlights the Green Men’s “greatest hits”:
It’s odd that the league ever had an issue with the Green Men in the first place, but it’s even more odd that they would now feature them on NHL.com despite that supposed issue.
Public opinion on the Green Men is generally positive, though their are some people who don’t like them. Glenn Healy is one of those people.
“We simply have had enough of looking at their rear ends and their crotches when players have to go to the box,” Healy said.
“They’ve been more than a pain in the neck to almost every team that has played here.”
James Mirtle at the Globe and Mail says that the NHL should embrace the Green Men, not try to stop them:
What’s unfortunate is that there aren’t more fan traditions like the Green Men in Vancouver and the octopus toss in Detroit, as they only add to the atmosphere in NHL buildings during the playoffs.
Why wouldn’t the league want to embrace that and the fun storylines that come with it? And isn’t a little taunting all part of a trip to the penalty box in a visiting arena?
Maybe that’s what the league is trying to do by posting this video (which is no longer mentioned on the NHL.com homepage, by the way.) This video could be the league’s way of saying that they only told the Green Men to tone it down because they received a complaint, not because they have a problem with them.
Still, the league looks like it’s trying to play both sides in this debate and those who do that never come out looking very good.
It’s somewhat understandable that the league would want to crack down on the octopus in Detroit. Throwing the octopus delays the game and can possibly cause problems with the ice. The Green Men just taunt the players in the penalty box. That happens in almost every arena in the league. Vancouver just has a more creative way of doing it.
As long as it’s not hurting anyone, fan creativity shouldn’t be stifled.