The Interdependence of Professional Hockey Players and Their Fans
Professional hockey players thrive on an emotional, loud home ice advantage. In fact, the element of fan support at home games is an important factor in both achieving and predicting wins. Yet, when the players and fans leave at the end of the game, does the relationship also end? In this study, the importance of the interaction between players and fans was researched given the assumption that bringing these two parties together could generate a more passionate fan and better support for the team throughout the community. Multiple methods were used to collect data, including interviews with hockey families, observations of fans during and after games, and interviews with current hockey players in the National Hockey League (NHL) and American Hockey League (AHL). Results demonstrating mutual benefit to fan and player alike provide incentive to grow the relationship between the players and their fans. Establishing a better relationship between the two gives the fans another reason to support the team and come out to games. Having the players more active throughout the community has been shown to give rise to better outcomes at home games.
Mitsunaga, Kyle, "The Interdependence of Professional Hockey Players and Their Fans" (2017). 2017 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference.