One common theme that seems to get trotted out by Winnipegers, trolls, and people that just don't plain like the Coyotes and their fans is that "Now Coyote fans know how fans in Winnipeg, Quebec City and Hartford felt!" And in a very small measure they'd be right. Only in that sure, It's a crappy feeling watching the team in trouble and the threat of relocation looming. However the situation here is nothing like those.
See one thing that was missing back then that we have now is this wonderful thing known as the internet. It allows you to read these words I'm typing. It lets us email our friends, catch up with lost classmates, follow sports as much or as little as we like. One other thing it's done though is make communication from anonymous people in one location to those in another not only possible but prevelant. Many, if not most of the readers here are on twitter or have read comments on blog posts from other sites directed toward Coyote fans. With all this, the tone has become personal to individual, targeted Coyote fans rather than just being upset at the loss of a team.
The emails, the constant tweets, the comments, they're rarely about how "Hey, we sympathize with what you're going through, we've been there and we hope things turn out okay even though we want a team." How many have instead been "You don't deserve hockey." or "Maybe if you didn't have shitty fans" or "Hockey doesn't belong in the desert." I'm not saying this is unique to this situation or that I haven't been angry and said crappy things. What I am saying is that empathy, understanding and just being nice seem to have gone out the window. A large chunk of hockey "fans" and even media types expect us to be understanding of the plight of poor Winnipeg while tearing down fans here not just in general, but targeting specific individuals and players because they love hockey here. Not just the game of hockey, but specifically hockey here. In Phoenix.
Basically what I'm saying is this. Teams moving sucks for everyone involved with the team except the people that now get to be fans in the new location. Hartford losing the Whalers hurt guys I know like Donny Rivette that now writes over at Litter Box Cats. The Quebec Nordiques moving had to be tough for their fans especially since the team then went on to win a couple of cups. And it was hard for Winnipeg to lose the Jets too regardless of how I feel about it now. What none of those situations had were fans attacking other fans for no other reason than being fans of their team. There weren't personal, vicious attacks against Whaler fans from people in Carolina. The people of Denver didn't slam those that lived in Quebec City so they could have a team. There weren't people in Phoenix cheering for the demise of the Jets either. It just didn't happen.
This stuff isn't unique to this situation, to hockey, to sports. It happens everywhere on the internet lately. Unfortunately, Winnipeg fans have taken out their inadequacies on Coyotes fans for no other reason than geography. Look up "pathetic" in the dictionary - you'll find a grown man in Winnipeg attempting to debase a teenage girl in Phoenix simply because of the city she lives in and the team she cheers for. In mixed company, a grown man calling a random teenaged girl stupid and calling her garbage would be enough to incite a riot or at least a medium-sized bar brawl. On Twitter, it's re-Tweeted far and wide with pride. All of this because she's come to love the game of hockey and her hometown team - the entire thing plays out like a story written by Faulkner and Don Cherry's love child. This is not to say that I'm without fault. I've made fun of fans throughout the Western Conference for being fans of whatever sadsack team (Wings) they choose to root for. But I'm not in the habit of attacking them as a person - their character - over a game. For some Jets fans, this has become a dominant personality trait.
In the end though what I expect from the internet and from the world might just be too pie-in-the-sky and kumbaya, and maybe I just see things through rose colored glasses. It's a tool to let us all speak to one another. Unless people really suck that much that they go around insulting people everyday why do we do it on the internet? I'm not better than anyone at this. I get pissed off. I retaliate. The difference is maybe I have some measure shame over it. that seems to be missing for many. If the team moves it'll suck, it'll hurt, I might not watch hockey anymore. That on it's own it bad enough. Do we really need people with nothing better to do telling us why we're worthless as individuals or crappy people if the team does in fact go?
I'm sure this will only fuel the fire that burns in Winnipegger's hearts, and will lead to only more name-calling, but hating Coyotes fans for being fans is asinine. The only asinine person in this fight should be David Shoalts.