Fan Support and Traditions
Philadelphia fans are known for their passionate support of their team, and the less than hospitable treatment of opposing players. In a poll of the players, over 62% stated that Wings fans have screamed the filthiest and nastiest things at them in the league.
Of the fans, goaltender Rob Blasdell said "They truly are the best fans in the league. They're probably the most knowledgeable fans in the league. It would kind of be the same as playing for the Leafs in Toronto They're very, very passionate." Philadelphia fans enjoy the physical aspect of the game, leading Geoff Snider to comment:"The Philly fans are great. They are very loyal and they get behind it," he said. "I got a standing ovation once for a roughing penalty. I'd never seen anything like that before."
Fans traditions start right from the national anthem, when fans can be heard making a 'tsch' sound at the end of each line, mocking a recording that was used by the Wings in the early years where the only audible portion of the song was the cymbal crashes. During the introductions of the opposing team, each players' name is followed by a call of "sucks", a tradition that has been extended to the opposing coaches, trainers, and the game officials. The local shot clock operator has escaped the jeering, and is instead cheered.
During the game, the opposing goalie is often the target of fan's heckling. The most common chant is to remind the goalie 'It's all your fault' after every goal they allow. More recently, the crowd in some sections have taken to 'beeping' like a truck in reverse any time a goalie backs up.
The most notable tradition of all is the dueling "W-I-N-G-S" cheers. The side of the arena with the penalty boxes have long been led by "Chopper", a Wings superfan with face paint and a hard hat, well known around the league making opposing players who find their way to the penalty box regret their time there. The bench side has going through many leaders, from "Big Gabe" (father of Scott Gabrielson, a Wings captain in the 1990s) to "Big E" to Chasmo, and now "The Captain" and "Morpheus" or as he made himself known as during the second half of the game on February 29, 2008, "Doctor Lacrosse". While the leader of the chants aren't always the same from year to year, the "W-I-N-G-S WINGS!" cheer hasn't died out at all, and is still prevalent at every game.
The song "Welcome to the Jungle" has become an anthem of the team, with the song often being played in the last few moments of the game when the Wings need a critical goal or a key defensive stop, and it never fails to get the crowd off their seats and into a frenzy. All of these traditions have made Philadelphia one of the hardest arenas in the NLL for a road team to get a win.
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Famous quotes containing the words fan, support and/or traditions:
“Being a [Chicago] Cubs fan prepares you for lifeand Washington.”
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—Guillaume-Prosper, Baron De Barante (17821866)