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Fan Signs – Rules of Engagement

sloppy-seconds-signWe all know about Jersey Fouls.  The Post-Gazette even has a Jersey Bill of RightsPuck Daddy has an “ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition.”

I was at a Rangers game a few days ago and saw a very ridiculous sign that got me wondering if there were enough “sign fouls” to make a post about it.  Turns out, there are.


I bet English isn't this guy's first language.

This won’t necessarily be a list of bad examples of fan signs, but more of what I feel are the “do’s and don’ts” of sign-making.  Many people (men, women, kids, adults) bring signs to hockey games.  Some bring signs to express their support for a team or its players.  Others bring signs to insult the opposing team or its players.

Do fact check. Recently, fellow New York Rangers blogger Scotty Hockey took a trip up to Montreal to see the Rangers take on the Habs at Bell Centre. What he saw was a great game with end-to-end action and over 21,000 of the most passionate fans in hockey. He also happened to run into this guy holding the yellow sign.  I think Scotty said it best when he said, “look at the moron with the sign – Avery never married Elisha. Get your facts right before you sit down to make a sign. Clown.”  Seriously.

Don’t bring generic signs to the game. Generic signs suck.  If your sign simply says, “Go Habs Go!”  or has some tagline the team has been bombarding you with the whole season, you better be under the age of 5 and need your parents help to make the sign.

|----------------------------------------------------| This Much.

|----------------------------------------------------| This Much.

But if you’ve already started kindergarten and you feel like bringing a sign to the game, put some thought into it.  “How bad do you want it?”  What are you trying to do?  Inspire Evgeni Nabakov to win the game?  I think he has enough inspiration to play hard without your sign.

Do get straight to the point. Since 1972, Dave Leonardi, a.k.a. “Sign Man,” has been attending Flyers games as one of the most well-known fans.  If you followed the Flyers-Canadiens series at all last year during the playoffs, you probably saw him tormenting the Habs goalies all series long.  While I don’t approve of bringing multiple signs to the game for every possible situation, I do love his style.  His signs are to the point and, more often than not, at least get a chuckle out of me.

Do get their attention. Girls, have you been swooning over that hot young guy playing for your favorite team?  If you want to get his attention then you’re going to have to get creative!  None of those, “Marry Me!” signs.  Hockey players see them all the time.  You need to come up with something original, get their attention! Like these girls:


I'm just wondering why a girl would want Crosby.

Don’t forget about the refs! The Refs are always fun to pick on.  They’re an easy target if your team is losing and are the inspiration for many great chants from “I’m blind! I’m deaf! I wanna be a ref!” to  “Get off your knees ref, you’re blowing the game!” to “ASSHOLE!”


He does seem to be glowing.

Yes, there are many chants.  But why not express your resentment with a sign?  At least when the refs are looking the other way the next time someone hauls down Sean Avery, they’ll have something to read.

Finally, the sign that inspired me to write this.  Don’t attempt to spread the word of God. This sign has to be the most random, idiotic sign I’ve ever seen (in person) at a sporting event.


Hopefully we don't have another Rainbow Man on our hands.

(I found all the pictures except for the one from Scotty Hockey, the Sean Avery one, and the image directly above this using google.  If a larger version of the image is available, you can see it by clicking on the image)

About the author:  Eric is a lifelong Rangers fan and is currently studying Computer Engineering at Hofstra University. You can follow him on Twitter: @5holeEric

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  1. One of the best signs I ever saw was in the Mausoleum, “Kill Yourself Kvasha” – held by an Islander fan. I bring a “Please Sens, TAKE REDDEN BACK” sign to the Garden and nearly get ejected. Damn life isn’t fair sometimes.

  2. You can make prank fan signs on http://www.fansigngenerator.com :)