In hockey, the 7th man is more than just a title of a movie or book. And it’s not the seventh guy to come off the bench as in the NBA. The 7th man is the fan, it’s you! You’re the 7th Man, and did you know you can make all the difference in a hockey game?
What is the 7th Man
As I mentioned before, you, the fan are the 7th man. While each NHL team has its fanbase and its different chants and mannerisms, the NHL has a name for hockey fans. The name comes from there being six guys on the ice (5 skaters, 1 goalie), making the fan an extra player. The 7th man leads the charge of support for the home team.
The power that the fans hold can change the whole outcome of a game. Given that hockey arenas are typically closed, the sound of an energized crowd pulses throughout the arena, feeding the momentum through every game, every play, and every puck drop.
Now the 7th Man doesn’t have to be a diehard hockey fan, a season ticket holder, or even a fan of just one team. This can be anyone that walks into a hockey arena or watches the game from their couch. By supporting the team in any way, you’re being a 7th man.
How to be the 7th Man
There are many ways to be a 7th man, and it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. Here are some ways to support your team and be a 7th man:
The big one is supporting your team. Whether you’re a season ticket holder and attend every game or watch from your couch. The support means everything to teams. You could be a casual fan that’s attending your first hockey game.
Next is cheering as loud as you can. This is something you can do at home on your couch, it’s less effective but does get your family into the game. But when you’re at a game, cheering on the boys when they score, when there’s a fight, or when they’re down. The energy that pulses throughout the arena when 15,000-20,000 people cheer is contagious and even gets to the guys on the ice.
Another way is staying until the end. I know sometimes this is hard, if your team is down by several goals it’s taxing to watch until the end. As a fan of a team that has gone through some rough spots, I know first first-hand it’s hard to watch your team lose, but because of my love for them, it would pain me to leave early. I’m perfectly fine with the opposing team’s fans leaving early but seeing the mass of fans leave throughout the game to only leave a few left is even harder for me to see.
As I mentioned before, this looks different for every fan and every team. So really however you want to show your support, makes you a 7th man.
In a later post, I’ll be talking about the role of the 7th man so be on the lookout!
Meaning of the Seventh Man in the NBA
Earlier I had mentioned the seventh man in the NBA, so I wanted to touch on that. Unlike hockey where the 7th man is the fan, here it’s the second guy off the bench. During a basketball game, there are only 5 players per team on the court at a time. The sixth man, which is talked about a lot is the first guy to sub in. He’s the player that isn’t yet at the level of the starting five but is better than the remaining players, this guy is the game-changer.
But what about the seventh guy, this is the second to come off the bench, an essential guy in an underrated role. This player brings strength to the second unit of players, like the 3rd and 4th offensive lines on a hockey team. The article, “The Importance of the Seventh Man”, goes a little bit more in-depth.