I’ve been a hockey die-hard for 6 years now, a mere rookie compared to many, I realize.

In the beginning, it was all about the rush, the speed, the action, the hitting, and all the other things that put anyone under hockey’s spell.

But something changed one night after a Houston Aeros game when I saw Aaron Voros in nothing but his skin-tight, muscle-revealing Under Armor.

In that moment, my reasonably-paced hockey bandwagon was suddenly running on jet fuel and that brief eyeful of thoroughbred derriere was burned into my memory banks forever.

It was like the glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Or the Holy Grail.

Here I was thinking hockey couldn’t possibly be any more awesome, and there was Voros’ ass proving me wrong. Hockey COULD get more awesome because now I could watch the best sport in the world while staring at hunky men!

I’d found a whole new level of fervor for the game.

And with that, before I even knew there was such a thing as “puck bunnies,” I was flirting with the label myself, because hockey flesh was suddenly an unavoidable, irrefutable component of my experience as a fan.

Fortunately for my dignity, I’ve been married for 11 years, so I’m all bark and no bite, but the mere fact that I (strongly) believe “Relative Foxiness” should be a stat in fantasy hockey puts question marks in some people’s minds as to my seriousness as a fan.

People want to put you in a box: Is she a puck bunny or is she a real fan?

And it’s not just me. I know plenty of gals who are dead serious about the game, but whose breath catches at sights like this:

Sweet flexible mercy, Huet...

On one hand, I sometimes feel guilty for objectifying players, who are delightfully human with more to offer than a great wrist shot and thighs like redwoods. But my impression is that guys are less sensitive about being objectified*, so I carry on freely.

*The only guy I’ve ever gotten any snarl from is a well-toned guy I play hockey with who takes his time between taking off his gear and putting his street clothes on. I call him “Gun Show.”

It goes like this: “Nice shot, Gun Show!” “[ignore]” “Aim for the net next time, Gun Show!” “[crickets]”

He clearly hates me. No clue why.

Then, I feel the guilt from female fans, some of whom believe that those of us who unabashedly admire the goods (and of course, those who have the pleasure of doing more than admire) tarnish the image of all female hockey fans.

“I am not a puck bunny. I am a serious hockey fan.”

But are they really mutually exclusive? Why can’t I, in the same breath, say:

“Oh, for the love of Tretiak! VHS is the wrong save selection on that shot, Roberto! Look how your lateral movement is limited off the post! … Dammit if he doesn’t have some long legs, though… sweet baby Jesus, I would hit that.”

Does my dreamy contemplation that naked Luongo probably looks like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (after he gets all strong and ripped, but before his skin starts falling off and he has to throw up on his food to digest it) negate the fact that I can talk knowledgably about the technicalities of goaltending?

No, of course it doesn’t.

Still, it’s been a bit of an identity crisis that ties into the culture of hockey fandom. Either you’re in it for the boys or you’re in it for the game.

Well, I’m here to tell ya, on my behalf and that of many other ladies who enjoy a good penalty kill as much as a well-muscled tush, the age of the Serious-Bunny Hybrid is upon us.

So be prepared to get whooped in fantasy hockey by your female hockey friends and their well-managed – and attractive – teams.

Comments (36)

  1. Well said, Ms. Conduct. Amen…and I’m now a little hot and bothered by the obviously submissive position in that first photo….

  2. You killed me with those pictures. I am ded.

  3. Agirlinthesouth, you should see the boys who can put their heads all the way back to the ice doing that. Holy…..

  4. I am with you.. I admire the game because of the speed, the finesse, the fact that these guys are skating on blades and have the eye hand coordination I could only dream of.. BUT some of them look DAMN GOOD while doing these wonderful skills. :-) So don’t feel bad… and BTW the Hurricanes have a high GQ factor as well.. (and DO NOT flame me for saying that).

  5. Exactly!! I fell in love with the sport. The fact that a lot of the guys are smokin’ hot is an added bonus. And my favorite team (Wild) happens to have a larger quantity of smokin’ hot players vs beaten with the ugly stick players. But I would watch the game even if the whole team was beaten with an ugly stick.

  6. Oh my god, it’s like we’re the same person!! Now I don’t feel so bad about that fantasy I had about a certain goaltender and a hot fudge sundae. Maybe I should think of that as the perk of being a female hockey fan.

  7. Amen! you summed up my own “bunny conundrum”!

  8. You know full well I’m with you on this one. Well said my friend.

  9. My hockey-player-hotness epiphany came when I saw footage of Kasparaitis skating in a pre-morning skate (he’d been injured and was testing whatever the injured part was) in just his tight underwear stuff. The image of that ass and those thighs is still burned in my brain.

    So, yea, I’m totally down with loving hockey not only for the beauty of the sport (and being pretty darn knowledgeable about it) but also for the hunkiness of the men who play it (and geez, is there a straight woman who watches hockey who isn’t?). If for some that relegates me to the status of Puck Bunny so be it (but honestly, can a woman in her 50s even be a PB? That thought is just funny…). I’m loving the concept of a Serious-Bunny Hybrid – I’m in.

    I too am married and have been a long time, but man, those hockey player dreams in the night sure are fun…

  10. “Relative Foxiness” sounds like a good statistic to track.

  11. Well said! I love the game for the speed and the action and the joy players show when they score, but the players themselves are also appealing. Just this summer a former Wild player’s (now Aeros player) girlfriend tweeted a photo of him shirtless in the kitchen. I immediately thought “Good Lord! That’s what’s been hiding under all those pads and loose jerseys?” Now I dream of coming home to the smell of banana bread and a half naked hockey player in my kitchen. (In actuality he was probably chopping veggies or something equally low fat and healthy, but if you’re gonna dream – dream big.)

    My husband of 18 years fully supports my hockey passion. At the game last night he pointed out a beautiful example of goalie porn and said “There’s a shot Ms. Conduct would love.” :-)

  12. I couldn’t have said this any better myself. I gave up feeling guilty about the drooling a few years back, now I just wonder if I should feel squicky about drooling on guys who are sooooo much younger than me.

  13. How did this post start without Ryan Kesler’s ESPN photo? Seemed like the slam dunk of photos.

    • I did kinda go, “DAMN” when Bourney already used it the other day. But also, after studying it for a while, once I noticed his extremely hairy inner thighs (plus the fact that he’s a stinky Canuck), I decided not to pursue it. Why can’t they ever put a player I WANT to see naked in that issue?

  14. Exactly- came for the hockey, stayed for the hotness. Also, hockey stretches= more than enough reason to be in your seat before warmups.

  15. I approve of all of this.

  16. I agree with all of this. I love hockey of all kinds. When its played by good looking men, its just like a cherry on top of a sundae.

    Under Armor is one of the world’s great inventions for so many reasons, but those old-school blue on blue ringer shirts really popped in locker room photos. Compression shorts are a step up from long johns in so many ways though.

    Best part about hockey, compared to football / baseball – very few duds when you see a group out of their equipment. No linemen or DH’s to ruin the aesthetic.

    • “No linemen or DH’s to ruin the aesthetic.” Hahaha! Yep, I’ve only seen one where I thought, “Okay, coulda done without that.” (Circus!)

  17. Fantasy team just has multiple definitions.

    And any male fan who gets on female fans for perving on players must just be disgusted by ice girls.

    • right? TAKE YOUR SEXINESS AND LEAVE MEEEEEEEE, it only corrupts the purity of my enjoyment of the GAME. i can hear them saying that right now. no, wait, that’s crickets.

    • I’m actually fully supportive of women treating the athletes as, well, men. In every sense. The game is entirely about them, so why does it matter if you happen to want to see them naked before/during/after the game?

      But on the other hand, I hate having ice girls and cheerleaders around. It just seems creepy to have a stadium with the average hockey fan (middleaged, overweight, possibly drunk, and with a family) drooling over some teenager in a skin tight outfit.

  18. WELL SAID. i’ve loved hockey since i was a tiny child. my first crush was mark messier, when i was eight. suddenly starting to appreciate players’ looks didn’t take away from appreciating the game, it ADDED to it.

  19. Love this! I agree wholeheartedly and I can add to the fact that real female sports fans can still lust after the men who play. I wasn’t a baseball fan until I lost my eyesight in 08. Long story short, I fell in love with Evan Longoria and found out later that I managed to pick a hot guy. I’ve studied the game and know a lot of details, but I still lust after the guys, and my female friends on Twitter have way too much fun describing them to me. I’m not a hockey fan yet, but that might just have to be the next sport I pick up after this article! =D

    • Ro, if you ever need someone to describe a hockey player to you, I’m your girl. :) Though I think it’s only fair if you can’t see them, that you should have special privileges to get to feel them up.

  20. BTW, you guys are the best. Thanks for making my first post so fun. :)

  21. Preach on sister!

  22. Serious Bunny Hybrid!! So true. Thank you for speaking the truth about female fans of male-dominated sports. How many times does my husband have to roll his eyes at my “girly” comments about the outstanding hotness of ANY male player before he understands that not only can I speak knowledgeably about said sport (I’m admittedly a basketball fan, and tolerate hockey if I can actually BE there), but drool over them equally well?

    That said, I might need to up my hockey intake. I do love me some Under Armor. Am I allowed to come for the hotness, and stay for game?

    • Haha, yeah, “come for the hotness and stay for the game” is a pretty rich turn of phrase… :D

  23. It would also be pertinent to point out that some of the hottest girls out there are hockey players, there are some very cute girls on the team at my college, and were in high school too.

    • No doubt. Just playing hockey is sexy on a woman. I will admit to a handful of girl crushes in my womens’ league (almost exclusively the defensemen on my team who I trust the most to save my bacon).

  24. Right on … just stumbled upon this… well written and so it does not matter what age one is to drool over SOFT SPOTS !

  25. I’m with you 100%! I love the game–and the hotness of the players. It’s perfectly acceptable. Clearly we’re not watching the game *solely* for the good looks of the players–that would make us Puck Bunnies. Since we actually know the rules and are passionate about the sport, we’re there for the game. It’s just an added bonus that we have cute guys to watch.

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