Attending an Ice-hockey Game:

Unwritten Rules Need to be Adhered to as Well!

Why an ice-hockey games‘ most important rules apply to the area off the playing-field and how to avoid putting your foot in it?

Publisert Sist oppdatert

Just another evening of a weekday. The sun has gone down hours before the event, which let ice-hockey fans’ heart-rate go up, started. It will turn out to be an evening full of excitement - not only for those for whom it is the match of uncountable number in their life already. International students, bare of any knowledge of the written as well as the unwritten rules both on and off the ice, can find themselves equally sucked into the atmosphere surrounding an ice-hockey match.

Never having been to an ice-hockey game before will lead some to resort to a hastily done research on the Internet while riding the public transport towards the nye Jordal Amfi arena. However long the ride to the home-base stadium of the Vålerenga ice-hockey team in Oslo may be and however deep down into online ice-hockey-rules rabbit holes one might go: it will not necessarily be of any considerable advantage upon arriving at the venue. The rules on the ice are not those to be followed by heart. Even the youngest fans, starting at the age as young as presumably 4, are not required to remember these rules. What really counts is the behaviour of those who never step on the ice-rink during the entire match-evening. But the children do not need to be told to behave and not to make a big scene. They can roam around the corridors freely, playing games with their friends, imitating the athletes‘ moves and debating sophisticatedly the past match with due to their age limited vocabulary and speculating in just the same manner about what might happen in the forthcoming game-period. It is the foreign students who, with their behaviour and their all too trivial conversations in breaks, stand out of the crowd like a flock of multi-coloured poodles.

«Blending in» is important, which is why at least some thought should be given to the choice of colors that the spectator sports in his outfit. Otherwise one could find himself among Vålerenga fans in their typically red-blue tricots and unwillingly break up the color-unity within the fan-block with a green, orange or other than red or blue speck of colour in their outfit. The videos flickering over the huge display hanging from the ceiling over the middle of the ice-hockey rink do not zoom in on the spectators just like it is customly done in the USA with the «kiss cam». There is no need for such advanced technology to spot the one standing out from the crowd. Thanks to the architecture, the amphitheatre enables everyone to lay their eyes on whatever, and more importantly - whoever, is not directly behind them. For this reason, one cannot go unnoticed with wearing the wrong colours at the match. If red, blue or any of the colours that Vålerenga’s opposing team carries in their tricots do not suit you - just go for the basics like white or black. You will blend in just fine among the black seats, which by the way do not offer much space for the legs. But better blending in while cramming the knees into the chest uncomfortably in the seat than being the centre of attention, which should definitely rather be on the players on the ice, right?

Wanting to keep both your waistline and your wallet thin will not be possible simultaneously in Jordal Amfi arena.

Two breaks in between each of the three game-periods of 20 minutes provide an opportunity for reclaiming some sort of feeling in the tensed legs. For anyone who might want to hang loose even more and enjoy a beer: just don’t. There are plenty of kiosks scattered throughout the whole venue, none of which is serving any kind of the thought- and tongue-relieving beverage enjoyed on other social eve(nt)s like this. Regarding the faces of the confirmed fans on the ranks during the game – some vigilantly following without blinking with their eyes. Some frowning upon any move they deem to not be conducive to the matches‘ process. Others seemingly trying to memorize every action so that the discussions with their fellow fan-friends afterwards can be enrichened by their impeccable memories – it is clear why they abstain from alcohol, this mind-clouding popular drug, pretty quickly. Or maybe it’s just the comparatively high prices for beer and the sorts here in Norway. Who knows.

Wanting to keep both your waistline and your wallet thin will not be possible simultaneously in Jordal Amfi arena. Either you abstain from consuming freshly baked frozen pizza, fat-dripping sausages or the all too obligatory cup of non-freshly brewed coffee, which lets its consumer realize they are literally ingesting bean-water. Or you opt for the stadium-experience including those foods, which will leave your wallet considerably thinner than before. Thank god bankcards are a thing, the damage done by such indulgences will not be instantly visible this way.

Thank god bankcards are a thing, the damage done by such indulgences will not be instantly visible this way.

Wishing to blemish something other than the wallet? Head over towards the Vålenrenga fan-shop. Since the wallet might already be strained to an uncomfortable point, let’s take something else to diminish – one`s ego. Upon arriving near the cornered shop, let your gaze not wander over the numerous articles but rather lay eyes to what is going on at the other side of the corridor. At first glance it might seem like the kids-area of a well-known furniture company, only that this one substitutes the ball-pool and spiced up its fun-zone with some kind of playstation. Just say to yourself: what is going on on the technology-infused mat is anything but all fun and games. A man, seemingly a fan of Vålenrenga since early on, who is now too old to play this game himself in these match breaks but still wants to stick around during matches, is surrounded by children, dressed in their teams‘ tricots, observing the chosen one of them to have his short time of glory. Two lines on the floor, admittedly close to each other, indicate the area which the puck is ought not to leave while the player pushes it with the rack first to the left, then to the right. The faster, the better. And let yourself be told: those children have no time to waste when it comes to juggling the puck between those lines. The level of seriousness with which the spectators around the one on duty is comparable to the one sensible during the real-deal match. Try your shot there as you wish, but be sure to lose two things: besides your feeling of superiority over children several years younger than you, also the other peoples‘ last bit of patience.

What you will gain for sure is even more admiration for the athletes speeding over the 60x26m rink with an astonishing 30km/h or more. Once they have scored a goal, „Mål!!“ („Goal!!!“) is blinking in bright colours on the display and the according hymn is played over loudspeakers, accompanied by the singing, or rather - shouting of the fans. After some short minutes of joy, which also serve as little breaks for the athletes, the clamouring unexpectedly comes to a halt as soon as the puck has touched the ice and the players return to hunt for the next goal. All is still except for the noises inherent to the game: bats clashing against each other; ice-skating shoes abruptly brought to a halt in order not to let its wearer crash into another man on the ice or to change direction; the pucks‘ sides scratching along the outside edge of the rink in an attempt to make a pass from one side of the goal to the other via the long way around behind it; the players giving each other indications for the next moves with their voices which sound just as strong as their bodies underneath the protective layers presumably are.

As a spectator, just enjoy the silence filled with noise, but abstain from making some yourself. Chatting is for the time when the game has come to an end, especially when issues not related to what is going on some meters below on the rink are to be discussed. Then you may engage again in either debating the previous 3x20 minutes or, what will most likely be the case for foreign students after their first ice-hockey match, reassuring each other that no, not only you looked stupid but all of the group and yes, we are going to grab a beer now.

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