As the story goes, sports scarves were first seen in the stands of British soccer games in the early 1900’s to keep supporters warm during cool winter months while providing a mechanism to show one’s loyalty to a specific club. This tradition grew rapidly and exponentially over the next century, evolving into the now ubiquitous soccer scarf seen at soccer matches worldwide. Often donned by avid supporter groups, the supporter scarf has become an iconic symbol of pride and loyalty to a specific team or club. The notion that the sports scarf is exclusively a soccer item is widely held, but in recent history the scarf has been spotted in the stands of arenas housing many other sports.
Once such sport is ice hockey, where the hockey sweater has long been the multi-functional garb of choice in chilly arenas. Over the past decade, hockey has grown drastically in popularity, with 26 of 30 NHL franchises averaging over 90% attendance during the 2015-16 season. With this boost in popularity, fan bases have grown to sizes that rival those of NFL, NBA, and MLB franchises. In some markets, select groups of extremely dedicated fans, or superfans, have started forming their own soccer-like supporter clubs to collectively display their passion at games and other events. Similar to their soccer brethren, hockey supporter groups have tapped into the passion and unity that sports scarves can provide by creating their very own custom scarves.
In San Jose, California, the San Jose Sharks average 95% attendance at the SAP Center, home to one of the most underrated fan bases in hockey. The most passionate of these fans made the decision to create a group in an effort to attract the “Loudest and Proudest”, and the Teal City Crew was born. Below, Curt Silver, the founder of the Teal City Crew shares his explanation of the formation of his group and the integral role custom scarves played in the process.
Scarves are for soccer, right? WRONG. We’re Teal City Crew, the fan-driven and started supporter club of the San Jose Sharks and affiliates, founded in 2015.
Starting when the Sharks were losing the drive and passion of the fans, TCC quickly gained popularity on Instagram and Twitter. Fans loved our raw passion for the Sharks, and a new way of supporting a hockey team, much like a European hockey or soccer fan club. The Crew met for select nights and meets at the SAP Center, or better known as the “Shark Tank”, as well as Los Angeles, Anaheim, and even a game in Arizona! We sat together, or met at the intermissions to get the concourse going in mid-period chants. But one thing was missing.
Our club’s flag was great, but individuals wanted to SHOW who they represent, and that they’re the LOUDEST and PROUDEST fans of the Sharks. [Enter] scarves. We knew the design needed to be bold, unique, and TEAL. When we wanted scarves, we didn’t know what would be happening in the next two magical months.
Scarves were sold, sent, and represented well at the Tank, and astonishingly across the globe. From fans in Portland who chant for the Rose City, to as far as a fan in GERMANY who visited California this amazing season. While we were on our quest for Lord Stanley, our ECHL affiliate, the Allen Americans of Allen, TX went on to win their 2nd Kelly Cup, and 4th championship in the two leagues they’ve been. And what was represented on the ice and ON the trophy, celebrating with them? Our SportsScarf scarf, wrapped around diehard fans necks.
Back in California, the Sharks defeated Los Angeles, then overcame a Game 7 against Nashville, and for the first time, winning the Campbell Trophy as the best team in the Western Conference. The Sharks had finally reached the Stanley Cup Final. Although the outcome wasn’t what we planned, there is no doubt that our club made a difference in the seats, and the scarves brought us even closer together.
As the 2016-17 season is coming, our scarves are our own little trophy of what we did, as the little supporter club that cheered our way to the STANLEY CUP FINAL.
Similar to the Teal City Crew, other hockey supporter groups booster clubs have been sprouting up throughout North America. Chances are that it won’t be long until you see (and hear) a group of raucous, rabid fans chanting and waving their scarves at an arena near you. Looking to join a group? Feel free to take a look at the list of NHL supporter groups below:
Anaheim Ducks: Ducks Die hards
Colorado Avalanche: The Burgundy Brigade
Los Angeles Kings: The Royal Army
Nashville Predators: Section 303
New York Islanders: Blue and Orange Army
Ottawa Senators: Red Scarf Union
Philadelphia Flyers: Flyers Fan Club
San Jose Sharks: Teal City Crew
Did we miss your group? Please feel free to list more hockey supporter groups in the comments section. Looking to create a custom scarf or custom hat for your group? Please send us an email at Hockey@SportsScarf.com.