Hockey Ughs is the cynical sister to Puck Daddy’s Hockey Hugs, a feature written by my same-sex blog-partner Harrison Mooney from Pass it to Bulis. While Hockey Hugs highlights the joy of scoring a goal and celebrating it with your bestest buds, Hockey Ughs highlights the agony of the other team’s fans right behind the glass, watching those hugs.

Aw dang. (Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)

(Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)

Buying a ticket to a playoff game is a massive gamble. Sure, the atmosphere is electric, the hockey is at its most passionate, and seeing your favourite team win in the playoffs is incredibly emotional, but you’re also setting yourself up for a potential heartbreaking experience.

Just imagine the Leafs fans who paid premium prices to see the first playoff game in Toronto in nine years, only to see the Bruins thump the Leafs 5-2. Or consider the Canucks fans who travelled all the way down to San Jose to see game three and watch the team collapse in the third period and lose by that same 5-2 score. If you were given the odds of your team winning a particular and were asked to place a bet equivalent to the price of going to that game, you’d most likely pass.

But this is what being a fan is all about. You take a risk supporting your team, knowing that at any given moment you could experience euphoria or misery. There’s plenty of time to focus on the joy of being a hockey fan; let’s have some fun with the sorrow for a little while.

Here are the best Hockey Ughs of the first round of the playoffs so far.

Matt Martin brings about a massive pout

(Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

(Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

Matt Martin looks downright enthused in this picture, and for good reason. He just scored his first ever NHL playoff goal, tying up the game for the New York Islanders after they were down 3-1 through 20 minutes. The Penguins fans in attendance, however, were not so excited. One fan was particularly bummed out.

167982754 - glumShe spent the next several days sighing audibly so that friends and co-workers would ask her what’s wrong.

Oh, it’s nothing, she said, and they would go back to what they were doing until she sighed heavily again and they had to ask her what’s wrong again.

It’s no big deal. It’s just that Sidney Crosby and I can’t get married any more.

Wait, what?

He was on the ice for a goal by Matt Martin. That’s not even a real hockey player name. That’s a name made up by EA Sports for a randomly generated entry draft.

Uh, okay…

If Crosby is going to let players that aren’t even real score goals against the Penguins, I’m not going to marry him. I’m just a little sad about it, that’s all. We would have made a cute couple.


Ducks fan looks to the heavens for answers, remembers there’s a roof in the way

(Debora Robinson, Getty Images)

(Debora Robinson, Getty Images)

Rookie Damien Brunner is having a great series for the Red Wings, putting up 4 points in 4 games, including scoring the game winner in game 4 to tie the series at two apiece. In this photo, he celebrates his first playoff goal, while Ducks fans behind him look moribund and one slightly out-of-place Red Wings fan is losing his mind.

Meanwhile, one Ducks fan has lost faith in the existence of a kind and loving God.

167941307 - oh noIf God is both good and all-powerful, why does pain and suffering exist?

That’s certainly a legitimate philosophical question, but what does that have to do with hockey?

Goals scored against the Ducks cause me great pain and suffering. Therefore, goals scored against the Ducks are evil.

Whoa, hey, you can’t move from the subjective to the objective like that…

The morally right thing to do is to let Teemu Selanne lift the Stanley Cup one last time before he retires. Anything that stands in the way of that is wrong. Oh God, why have you abandoned us?

But isn’t the existence of Selanne in the first place an argument for God’s goodness and mercy?

…That’s actually a really good point.


(Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)

(Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)

This is the ever-rare away game Hockey Ugh. The sheer joy and exuberance of the Minnesota Wild and their fans as they celebrate Jason Zucker’s overtime game winner in game three of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks places the reaction of one fan in sharp relief.

Aw dang. (Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)

Aw dang.


The team that I didn’t want to score totally scored.

Sure did.

Well that just boils my bunions.

You have bunions? That’s too bad.

What do you mean? They’re delicious.

Gross! Wait, what do you think a bunion is?

It’s basically a pork bun made with onions that you boil over a stove. My mom makes them all the time.

Yeah, that’s not a bunion.

David Steckel causes mass despair in Detroit

(Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

(Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

The photos that manage to capture a wide swathe of the crowd are the best, as they tend to capture a wide variety of emotions. It’s like a twisted version of Where’s Waldo, as you look for sad people instead of a cheerful bespectacled fellow in a striped shirt.

This picture is so packed with Hockey Ughs that it’s hard to decide which one is best.

Do we go with the guy who’s covering his head with his hands as if the roof is collapsing on him?

168198388 - head in handsHow about the woman who’s so disgusted by Steckel’s goal that she looks like she’s about to hurl?

168198388 - about to throw upThe woman who is screaming like Jack Torrance was chopping through her door is a strong contender…

168198388 - AAAAAHHH

…but so is the kid wearing his hat backwards who just had his dreams crushed right before his eyes.

168198388 - upset kid

It’s hard to go wrong with a classic facepalm, but there are far crazier reactions…

168198388 - facepalm

…like this guy, who seems shocked and astonished not just that the Ducks scored, but also that ice exists and that air is breathable…

168198388 - how can this happen

…or this guy, who seems more upset about there being a photographer in front of him than about Steckel scoring.

168198388 - WHAT NO

Then there’s this guy. I’m not really sure what emotion he’s going through right now…

168198388 - uh

But for pure, unadulterated despair, which is what we’re all about here at Hockey Ughs, there can only be one winner.

168198388 - nooooooThis crosses the line from an “ugh” to wailing and gnashing of teeth. Immediately after this picture was taken, she tore her garments, clothed herself in sackcloth, and began rubbing ashes on her face.

Actually, I might be reading her reaction all wrong. It actually reminds me of something entirely different: Beatlemania in 1963.


Huh. Turns out that girl is actually the world’s biggest Dave Steckel fan. She’s just experiencing Steckelmania. Someone better get him some police protection.

Stick-tap to Horatius Bonar and Josh for helping to re-name this feature.