Aside from the awe-inspiring ascension of Gritty, God among mortals, the biggest story of the young NHL season has come at the expense Nashville Predators. Yes, I’m talking about the “Western Conference Regular Season Champion” banner. No, not enough time has passed for you Music City maniacs to avoid a few more chirps.
The hockey world has spoken and the consensus has been that this 'regular-season champs' banner (which also sullies the rafters in Detroit, San Jose, Dallas & Washington) is a stupid thing. It is the latest stupid thing in a long line of stupid things that have been hung above hockey fans. So in the spirit of not letting things die, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane while gazing above at some wonderfully dumb memories.
Minnesota Wild: Wild Fans #1
Let’s start in the Central. Expansion teams are often caught in a catch-22. They quickly lose the excitement of being new but they haven’t had enough time to establish real history. So in order to keep their new fans excited and motivated, and let’s be real, give them something to look at while their team’s being blown out, they raise a banner or two. The Minnesota Wild found themselves in this predicament and so they had the not completely terrible idea to salute their fans by retiring the number 1, you know... because the fans are number… you get it. But look at that thing. just Wild fans? At least other teams come up with almost original names for their supporters.
Montreal Canadiens: Hey, Remember The Expos?
We now go from a team yearning for some history to a team with oodles of it. The Montreal Canadiens have the most Stanley Cup banners of any team in the NHL. The building is so full of monuments to teams, trophies, and hall of fame players, you’d think they’d be out of room by now. The Canadiens managed to scrounge up enough room in their crowded rafters to hang a banner for a team that no longer exists and never even played in their building. The Montreal Expos left Canada in 2004, after years of bad teams and low turnout. Now they are forever enshrined in Belle Centre, to commemorate the fact that the ballclub left the few remaining fans they still had. Everything about this is peak Montreal.
Carolina Hurricanes: Hey Now, You’re An All-Star
I don’t take much shame in making fun of a team who is going to wear the corpse of the team who we all wish they still were. This is a team which has won a Stanley Cup in their time in Carolina, and yet, the banner which first comes to mind is this abomination, which freezes in time the moment Eric Staal made an All-Star game. See? There were signs we crossed over into the wrong timeline years ago, we were just to daft to spot them. You think this is bad, just wait until they raise a Whalers era Gordie Howe banner. Look into your heart, you know it to be true. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to a Whalers Gordie Howe banner…
Fort Wayne Komets: Indiana, Land Of The Upside Down
Every team will retire a player’s jersey if given enough time. It’s always a great moment, for the fans, for the team, and for the honored player. To be able to look back on the life’s work of an athlete and remember the joy and the excitement they brought a city, it’s truly an amazing moment in that player’s life. And for Colin Chaulk, the Fort Wayne Komets utterly screwed it up. Chaulk played for the minor league team in four different leagues over the course of a decade. To repay him for his commitment to Fort Wayne, the Komets raised his banner upside down. Don’t worry, they fixed it, but maybe try the next ceremony sober, okay guys?