Friday, May 02, 2008

The Present of Evil: A Reader Heads Into the Heart of Evil and Escapes with His Life

Regular FHF reader Adam went down to Philly for Game 3. He sent in this account along with video of assorted Philly fans calling him an asshole. He may be an asshole in real life, I don't know, but I'm guessing it had more to do with the CH on his chest. The piece was edited for length, so my apologies if it no longer makes sense. Also, the views expressed therein do not necessarily reflect, yada yada...

Fear And Loathing in Philadelphia: or, What it's Like to Watch a Habs Game in Philly and Why the Flyers Don't Deserve a Cup

Philadelphia - Somewhere between one of the many repetitive scoreboard tributes to great moments in Flyers thuggery, being told for the 27th time to "get the f***k out of America and go back to Canada" and witnessing a teenage girl wearing a Habs jersey get a full beer thrown at her by a drunken ruddy-faced Flyers "fan", the thought occurred to me that this city - which is neither loving nor brotherly - does not deserve to bask in a Stanley Cup parade. These so-called "fans", who are nothing more than orange-clad hooligans looking for any desperate excuse to get drunk, scream obscenities at the top of their lungs and hopefully start a fight, do not deserve a Stanley Cup. This organization, which does nothing to promote the sport of hockey other than stir up the basest most aggressive sentiments within its supporters, does not deserve a Stanley Cup.

Sidestepping a gob of spit that had been aimed at my feet by one of my courteous hosts, I walked into the Wachovia Center. As I crossed through a large entrance, my field of vision was assaulted by an intimidating sea of orange. At the gate, I noticed a woman handing out orange t-shirts sporting the slogan "Crush The Canadiens" and thundersticks (ugh! They have no business in a hockey arena) with the word "VENGEANCE" inscribed on them. As I approached her, I stretched out my hand to accept the free souvenirs but her eyes quickly narrowed as she spotted the CH on my chest and she turned away from me, refusing to give me a t-shirt. Soon my friends and I found ourselves surrounded by about 50 Flyers fans chanting "Ass-Hole! Ass-Hole", an experience that was actually quite amusing at first but grew annoying as we endured the same chant over and over again throughout the night. I will admit, it is quite a unique experience to have thousands of people systematically strain their voices to profess their hatred for you. It's almost empowering in a sense, like being a universally loathed celebrity.

Beyond the booing of the Canadian national anthem - a disgusting practice that Montreal fans are shamefully guilty of as well - it was the violence and the ignorance that got to me throughout the course of the night. Booing the Canadian anthem was stupid in itself for no other reason than the fact that exactly 50% of their starting roster, including their top scorer and starting goaltender, is Canadian. Rather than celebrate their team's successes amongst themselves, the Flyers fans made sure to punctuate every goal by hurling fistfuls of garbage at the small group of Habs supporters assembled in our section. It was clear minutes into the game that they took greater pleasure and spent more energy cultivating a good beer buzz and deriding opposing fans than actually paying attention to what was occurring on the ice.

Rather than educate its fans or promote a sense of appreciation for quality hockey, the Flyers organization instead relentlessly promotes violence at every opportunity, glorifying moments like Ron Hextall slashes or Bobby Clarke punching a Russian player in the face. These images which are constantly displayed on the scoreboard during stoppages in play, never fail to raise a loud chorus of cheers from Philly's bloodthirsty fans. Just picture this: there's two minutes remaining in a game that your team miraculously leads by a goal despite being outshot 34-14. The other team is peppering your goalie with pucks from all angles. Rather than dig your nails into your thighs and thank the hockey gods for this undeserved lead, you opt to stand up with a few hundred fellow morons and turn away from the game in order to face a handful of the opposing team's fans in order to participate in a 30-second "Ass-Hole" chant. Finally, when your team manages to squeak out an undeserved win, rather than admit your luck to the few actual diehard fans who drove over 8 hours to watch this game in your pathetic city, or even continue to tease them good-naturedly, you opt to threaten to kill them, actually elbow them as they walk past you quietly or - why the hell not - sucker punch them on the side of the head as you run past and tell them to go back to their country. No fool guilty of such stupidity deserves to be described as a fan of any hockey team, let alone celebrate a Stanley Cup victory. No organization that hasn't won a championship in three decades yet proudly clings to and continuously fosters the development of a thuggish legacy deserves to sip from Lord Stanley's Cup.

Let's out these classless buffoons in six (ed.'s note - now seven, i.e. no chance in hell) so their "fans" can get back to watching the Phillies, a team that plays a sport they actually understand - I think.


Habsfan10 said...

Inevitable "yeah, well you Frenchies rioted after a win" comment in 5-4-3-2 ...

From Birthplace of a nation to that in 200 years. Bravo, Philly.

HabsFan29 said...

In Adam's defense, I should point out that I did edit out an entire paragraph he wrote addressing the riots, because it went into some sentimental crap about hockey and dads and dreams which has no place in our snark-o-rama. But I will quote the not sentimental part:

And the argument may be made that Montreal is no more deserving of a Stanley Cup following the ugly rioting and acts of vandalism that broke out following our Game 7 victory over Boston last series. As loathsome as those acts were though, they represented the irresponsible actions of a fringe minority, louts who clearly possess no respect for the Canadiens organization or our city.

steve downie, again... said...

dear habs fans,
please clean the sand out of your vaginas.

you sound like a jealous ex-boyfriend who just saw his semi-attractive high school lady for the first time in 10 years. and now she's hot, a millionare doctor and loves punching dudes in the face. In other words, you're fucking jealous.

your thoughts on philly only strengthen the fact that PHILADELPHIA IS THE BEST SPORTS TOWN. PERIOD.

And yes, I'll say it...we don't burn fucking police cars, all we do is boo and curse at some very feminine looking males, who decided to take the free flyers t-shirt, you hacks.

Habsfan1993 said...

I lived near Filthydelfia for four years. Their fans are animals, and I have always said if the Phbblblbllyers won the Cup with Bobby Clarke as their GM, I would eat a bowl of worms.

Looks like I win.

Habsfan10 said...

"your thoughts on philly only strengthen the fact that PHILADELPHIA IS THE BEST SPORTS TOWN. PERIOD."

Mike Schmidt would disagree. So would Mitch Williams, Scott Rolen, Donovan McNabb, Michael Irvin, Von Hayes, Tie Domi, the countless players who wrecked their knees on the bullshit cement turf at the Vet, and the thousands of fans of the Giants, Rangers, Islanders, Mets, Cowboys, Habs, Leafsa and Celtics who got a beer or fist or expletive thrown in their face for having the audacity to come cheer their favourites on in your shithole city.

Anonymous said...

You should try wearing a NY Giant jersey to an Iggles game. I'm surprised I still have all 10 of my fingers.

Scott in Montreal said...

Heard a segment on CBC Radio 1 this morning. A Habs fan was interviewed who got punched repeatedly and then had his head forced and held into a urinal while peeing in a Wachovia Center men's room - after the Flyers had won their game.

So a rep from the Flyers' Marketing Dept. was interviewed and declined to apologize or show any regret on behalf of his team or their city or their fans - instead pointing out that Montreal fans rioted after beating the Bruins, and pretty much saying the guy was asking for it by showing up in a Habs jersey and rooting for the visiting team.

No class.

You know, the only hockey game I've seen away from Montreal was in Dallas a couple years back. I remember being surprised at the metal detectors being waved over everyone before entering the American Airlines Center. I guess in Philly they may need to do that too, because they are playing with fire by handing out promo material with such inflammatory messages, and by showing such non-chalance about criminal behaviour being reported in their facility.

The league should intervene before someone gets seriously hurt from off-ice violence. The NHL would also get a huge black eye.

HabsFan29 said...

I just want to jump in here and add that while beating the crap out of someone is ridiculous, again, just like the rioters, it is not all Philly fans who are doing this crap.

I especially know that our Flyers blogger friends (Nadine, Kristin et al) are nice people and while they are crazy for their Flyers, they would never pull shit like that.

while the ratio of crazed dickheads to normal people at the Wachovia Center may be higher than in Montreal, we still shouldn't generalize

Now, Eagles fans, on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

Let's out these classless buffoons in six (ed.'s note - now seven, i.e. no chance in hell)

Come on, where's your heart? I am a Ranger fan and I say Montreal and NY put aside their differences and unite against the evil that spews forth from the state of Pennsylvania. Pens & Flyers going down in seven.

Then after, we can continue our chants of Kovalev sucks, and you guys can do whatever it is you do.

Who's with me?

Sophist said...

To say that the city or, more importantly, the players don't deserve a championship because of the results of your little game reeks of sanctimony. What would happen if someone recreated this little experiment in your city? After all, you all booed the American anthem and rioted after round 1.

I don't condone this behavior, but I don't condone this snark either. Sport brings out the buffoon in all of us (some more than others.) Though it can be a dangerous path, it is part of the fun.

Habsfan10 said...

@ Anonymous: Getting us to cheer for the Rangers is kind of a tough sell. We've got a bit of a blood feud with the boys over at Blueshirt Bulletin from last summer.

We don't really have any issues with the Pens ... yet.

PPP said...

Ask Chemmy about what it's like going to see a game in Philly in a Leafs' jersey. Pretty much what was written here.

I don't buy the 'it is a small minority' BS. Just like with the riots it may have only been a few people that started the trouble but everyone else watched it happen and did nothing.

And you should definitely be able to wear your team's colours away from home without fear of being spit at, having beer thrown at you, being beat up, or anything of the like if you are respectful.

Hell, I won't lie. I was a little louder than I should have been at the Leafs-Habs game I saw in Montreal in December (not vulgar but a lot of good natured trash-talk) but got nothing more than good natured talk in return. I wore my England jersey in Lisbon during Euro 2004 amongst 5000 Portuguese and was treated with ridiculous amounts of respect.

That's how things should work. It's a shame that Adam didn't receive the same treatment I did.

orangeman said...

Agreeing with sophist here (shudder). I refuse to judge a city based on the actions of a few. I'd hate to be grouped in with the knitwits who burned cop cars over a first round win over the Broons.

We shouldn't judge them on their treatment of visiting fans. You got it good. I was almost stabbed walking to the grocery store while visiting a friend. Another time we barely escaped a gang stomping because we dared to go find beer while it was dark. My favourite was when my friend and I tried to stop three young guys from beating up a poor old Chinese store worker. I guess it was stupid of us to get in the middle of it (really). Btw, nothing like this ever happened to either of us in the 20+ years combined we lived in Montreal and this all happened in one weekend in Philly. Just don't pull out the random puss-ass riot to paint Montreal as a bad city, ok?

But none of that really matters. The fact remains that Montreal is a better hockey team and can beat these guys if they really try.

Thanks Philly for some of the greatest nights of my life. But you be one scary place! Ain't nothing personal.

Go Habs Go!

Flyers Fan said...

Wow and I thought Guy Carbahomo was bad, you Habs fans bitch and complain like pansies quite a lot!!

kristin said...

Well, having been at game 3, I can attest to the fact that Philly fans were quite rude and scary. Even during warmups, Philly "fans" were antagonizing neighboring Habs fans, to the point where I was actually making faces at my usher so he would come do something. This video doesn't even really do justice to the amount of hostility that was actually going on.

Game 4 was slightly better. I guess maybe the fans were tired from game 3?

Also, how embarrassing is that dumb ass bitch who says "fuck you, capitals!!!!"? Oy. Thanks for bucking the female hockey fan stereotype!

HabsFan29 said...

Kristin you're so reasonable. Marry me!

And I thought the Capitals comment was inocuous, especially in light of Adam in the video saying "following the Habs loss to the Phillies"

Habsfan10 said...

Dude, reasonable or not, she's still a FLYERS fan.

Chelsea said...

I'm a Philly fan myself and while I wasn't at either game (unfortunately, I'm in Boston), I can't disagree about the fans. While I love my Flyers and my Phillies, I happen to be a Chicago Bears fan (don't ask) and I got harasssed at the Bears Eagles game this past October. And I'm an eighteen year old girl.

But I also agree with the few who have said it that you really can't judge an entire city's fanbase by the handfull (thought it may be large) of dumbasses who can't seem to control themselves.

HabsFan29 said...

@10 - it's not like she's a Leafs fan or anything, or comes from a family of Red Wings fans ;)

Jaybird said...

I really wonder what has happened to professional sports in the US. Its not even about the game anymore its more like a mob lynching or a witch hunt to find people slightly different while your group has the power of numbers. It really must empower them...those girls in that video are the deepest scum in a deteriorating US culture. Bling Bling...

Anonymous said...

@ Jaybird, you can't just point out the US for unruly antics. Cripes, tune into any soccer/football match overseas and you get the same type of stuff.

Habsfan10 said...

If only they were Red Wings fans ... they barely tolerate hockey at all. I just think if they were forced to choose, the Wings would win out based on geography.

HabsFan29 said...

@anonymous - very good point. fuck, in South America they literally kill refs for bad calls, and Euro soccer matches make games in Philly look like a tea party

@10, gotcha.

brian propp said...

no one seems to want to mention HABS fans throwing beer on mike richards in game one when he was in the penalty box.

talk about the pot calling the kettle black.


Habsfan10 said...

@ Brian Propp:

That beer pouring was a bullshit, classless thing to do. But it's one incident against 30 years of spit, beatings, snowballs, booing injured players, dives into the penalty box, and generally boorish asshattery from Philly fans, documented by hundreds of reporters and opposing fanbases from across North America. Not exactly a valid comparison.

brian propp 2.0 said...

next time you're at the wachovia center, i'm going to punch you in the face. then kiss your girlfriend. then teach your dog how to hump your leg. then teach you high school english. then buy you a beer. then cross check your grandmom.


Habsfan10 said...

@brianpropp 2.0:

Chelios' elbow says hello.

Brian Propp 2.1 beta said...

how does Chelio's elbow factor into me stealing your girlfriend and teaching your grandmom how I..."got out of Flin Flon"?

If it does, then Ron Hextall's mustache just donkey-punched you're kidney.

eric lindros said...

here's an easy solution to all your problems...

stay the fuck home.

why is it so surprising they dont want you in thier arena?

it is what it is and it will always be that way. get the fuck over it.

kprimo25 said...

I'm a Flyers fan that grew up in South Jersey and now I live in Los Angeles. I've seen them play in LA, Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Detroit, Denver, Chicago and Washington. I've worn my jersey in each of these arenas and never had an incident, other than trash talking. Then again, maybe they were smart enough not to fuck with me.

But here's the thing: whenever I went anywhere else, I held my emotions in check. If we scored/won, I cheered and then sat down. If we lost, I took the good natured ribbing.

What I didn't do was go into the arena and act like an asshole. I've seen opposing fans get abused in the Wachovia Center, but 99/100 times, it's because the fan is acting like a douchebag. I remember Game 5 of the ECF in 1997. I was sitting in the top section and the Rangers scored twice in 26 seconds to take a 2-1 lead. Some guy in a Leetch jersey gets up and starts taunting the section. Guess what? He got his ass kicked.

How would the fans react if I were sitting up in the 400's at the Bell Center, crowing "Danny Briere gouverne!" when he buries one behind whoever ends up playing goal for you? I think Habs fans, like fans anywhere else (and I have many friends who have survived scary experiences in NY, NJ and Pittsburgh), would put me in my place and would use more than their harsh words.

In short, if you want to go see your team in an opposing, feel free to do so and to wear your colors. Be respectful, like you would in any guest's home, and you should be o.k. Mouth off like a wise ass, and you'll get what's coming.

BTW - Despite all of the flaming posts, the Flyers love the Canadiens. Many of our favorite players trained with you before coming to Philly: LeClair, Recchi, Desjardins, Svoboda, the list goes on. Keep up the good work. We'll give this kid Price a shot in a few years if you guys don't ruin him first.

Anonymous said...



If you came to the Bell Centre and shouted out, "Daniel Briere gouverne!" people would simply stare at you politely and assume you were retarded.

Jaybird said...

HAHAHA...Look at these tough guy Flyers fans. You guys prove the point perfectly. If you came to the Bell Centre you wouldn't have to fear being assaulted. If you went in the hardcore french areas of Montreal with a Flyers jersey would get raped. These Habs fans aren't in your ghettos they're at your multi million dollar arenas.

"Next time your at the Wachovia centre I'm going to punch you in the face..."

So fucking tough! Internet tough guys are the scariest. Brutal.

Anonymous said...

Watching that video shows me a glimpse of how simply retarded Philly fans are. Excellent examples of why Americans in general should stop breeding.

Heather said...

I never planned on going to Philly. Now in the event I am there, I think I might need a billy club and some mace.

I love the Discovery Channel documentary quality of the video. It would have been even more awesome if you stumbled upon some Flyers drinking 40s.

Nadine said...

@kprimo25: With all due respect, how long have you lived in LA and when was the last time you went to a game in Philly?

@Kristin: Reading your comment, I flashed back to our warm-up discussion on hater fans.

@HF29: Thanks for the mention.

@ all you other hockey fans who will read this:

Yes, emotions run high at a game. So what? That's no excuse or reason for you to display a basic lack of respect toward another person and - ultimately - yourself.

Time and again, I see Philly fans taunting other teams' fans, and that "taunting" goes waaaay beyond trash-talk to cross over into the kind of verbal abuse that would result in an arrest anywhere else. The lowest point is when you do it to children! (And, yes, you drunken ass-hats, you did and do.)

Early in the season, Kristin and I talked a friend of ours into coming over for a game when one of her two teams was in town. What did she get in return for a six-hour round-trip trek to watch her team lose? A body check into the wall while standing in line at the women's restroom after the game ended.

So while I may not have a huge problem with the guys' physical style of play on the ice, I have a major issue the quantity and quality of assiness I see among many of the fans.

I'm sure it won't take long for any Flyers fans like the brian propps to bitch about me being a traitor. (Particularly now that I've mentioned it.) If that makes you feel like a bigger man, go for it.

Habs fans - and, really, fans of any visiting team - can sit near me without fear. I respect myself too much to do otherwise...which, in the end, means I have the bigger cojones.

Anonymous said...

Get a f*uckin job, you frogs. Spend more time trying to criticize better cities and teams...please.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god you Crynadiens are so pathetic. Guess what there are accounts of the same thing happening to Flyers fans in Montreal. Give it a rest. We dont want you in our city we dont welcome you in our stadium and we coukld care less what you think of us. Bottom line is we are up 3-1. And crying about our fans isnt going to change that. But if it makes you happier to rip our fans go ahead. Guess what its not the first time and we dont care. You show up to our stadium for a playoff game in your gay uniforms then best of luck to you. I am a season ticket holder and have never seen an innocent fan get attacked it is usually provoked by something. Face it Canadien fans dont just sit there with their hands folded. Im sure something was said to provoke the attacks. Series over tonight. Lets Go Flyers!

ddawwidd said...

I've seen two games in Ottawa in October. I wore my Habs jersey - no-one offended or abused me. There was some more or less smart teasing, but nothing really out of line. I think that's the way it should be.

In Montreal I actually saw a clerk in Sports Experts wearing a LEAFS jersey and getting away with it. My jaw dropped and stayed low for two months.

Maybe it's my European soul speaking, but I think that if you abuse your opponent, call him shit and stuff like that - it places you in a really bad situation. If you win - it means nothing because you've beaten some asshole without skill. If you lose - well, take a guess. Disrespecting your opponent means that you really don't respect yourself.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I was at game 3 in Philly. Can't say my experience was much different than yours. Though, nobody hit me. If they had they would have been in for a rude awakening. heh

Connecticut Man1 said...

I should also note that in Boston for game four... The fans there were great (on both sides) and there was nothing more than some good natured ribbing.

phillyfan said...

Agree the booing of the National anthems must stop..No matter who started it. And people who commit assault should be arrested. I lived in montreal for 23 years during the glory years of 54-77 so it pained me to see les glorieux lose but the better team won.

Danny "phuck the habs" Briere said...

You bash our fans and hate on our city from the safety of the internet and complain when our fans are man enough to talk shit to your face. I'm sick of this hypocritical whining. Your entire fanbase boos a player every time he touches the puck because he didn't sign with your gay ass team. HES NOT EVEN FROM MONTREAL, hes from Gatineau, and still Canadiens fans act like a five year old in the toy store after they didn't get what they want. And you moan that your visit to Philly was ruined because the home team fans gave you shit all night? Get over it, we are passionate fans and we try to make away fans feel unwelcome for a reason. That way all you French pussies are afraid to come down here and we truly have the home crowd advantage. If not, we'll end up like the Devils in round 1 this year when in their home building their fans were outnumbered by Ranger fans. Anyways, stop crying, go set some police cars on fire and hit the links, YOUR DONE!

Mike said...


I hate to be the type of person to say "if you're not from the area, you just won't get it"...but Philly fits that mold.

All of us are sick and tired of hearing about us booing Santra Claus a billion years ago (and if you knew the true story, you'd, well, get it).

All of us are sick and tired about how we treat opposing fans (um, isn't that what home-field advantage is all about?)

And all of us are sick and tired about hearing how going to other stadiums is such a grand experience and coming to Philly is akin to a DMZ.

I've been to other stadiums wearing Philly colors, and you know what? I would hear it from the crowd. New York. Tampa. Boston. Chicago. And I'm sure I'd hear it in Montreal too (that is, if I could hear it over the fire alarms....sorry, but that shot is too easy to take.) But instead of going online and crying, I grew a pair and played along. And at no time was my life threatened because I never did anything to provoke people. Anyone that's gotten beat up in Philly has probably deserved it. You mean to tell me that all of the Montreal fans were saints? They were walking around with a video camera practically antagonizing us, and after a pretty fortunate win, that's exactly how we'd act.

And if Philly is so bad, how come no one ever talks about Jeff Carter getting hit with a bottle at the end of Game 7 in Washington? Or how about when a bunch of Packers fan killed the special teams coach's dog after a game? Or what about the snowballs up in NYC that injured a ref? We never injured a ref...we threw our snowballs at Jimmy Johnson because he was a smarmy asshole and deserved it.

So please don't bring up Michael Irvin (we were booing Deion Sanders dancing around, not Irvin's injury). And don't bring up Scott Rolen (who would routinely bash Philly and never respond to curtain calls.) And please don't bring up Mitch Williams, who works at a Philadelphia radio station and loves it here.

And, seriously....Von Hayes? Von "541" Hayes?? You'll have to make a better arguement than Von Hays...I have absolutely no sympathy for him. :)

Jameson said...

Yes, sometimes Flyers and Philadelphia fans cross the line, but isn't nice to have a fanbase that wants to go to games and try to give their team a home ice advantage? A fanbase that tries to keep opposing fans out?

While fans are there to watch the games, fans are also there to do anything they can to help their team win. See NCAA basketball, football, and European soccer.

Anonymous said...




mike m. said...

As a lifelong Philadelphian and an Eagles season ticket holder, I've seen pretty much everything you can imagine, and a lot of times I am dissapointed. I sometimes wonder if there are a small percentage of Philadelphians think that buying a ticket to a game gives them a license to do things they could never get away with in their day to day lives.

That said, MOST Philly sports fans are terrific. My section at Eagles games is great - we tease opposing fans, but it never gets ugly, and we keep the random asshole Philly fans from taking things too far.

I saw three Habs fans at Game 3 last week and asked if they were from Montreal and told them I hope they had a good time. I've been on enough Eagles/Phillies/Flyers road trips to know that when you go to opposing stadiums it can be a thrilling experience, and I have always been treated well. I hate it when we take it too far.

So, sorry if you had a rough time at the game. Hopefully Philly will win the Cup this year, and it will release some of the tension that 25 years without a championship creates, and maybe our fans will not feel the need to go over the top as often.