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Devils Fans: Please Woo at the Philadelphia Flyers

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Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Dave Hakstol, and the Philadelphia Flyers are bothered by the sound of the ‘woo.’ Allow me to explain why you should ‘woo’ a lot at them on December 22 (and in future games).

The 2016 ESPYS - Arrivals
A: Flyers hate that noise? B: What noise?A: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The game preview will be up tomorrow, but ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Second Rate Rivals, I want to present an opportunity. The New Jersey Devils lost their last seven games. The team hasn’t looked good in except in two of those losses (your mileage may vary). This is a rivalry game and fan morale is low. But there’s an opportunity to make a difference. And it’s in one word:

Woo.

It’s been made iconic by one of the greatest professional wrestlers of our time, the Rolex-wearin’, diamond-ring wearin’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-dealin’, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, son of a gun - the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. It’s continued on because Flair’s the man and his daughter Charlotte is a champion (for this month at least).

It’s been a noise made popular at a lot of events beyond wrestling shows. You’ve probably heard it at Devils games. Apparently at games hosted by the Philadelphia Flyers too. Maybe you like it. Maybe you don’t. But do you know who hates it? A number of the players for the Philadelphia Flyers and their head coach David Hakstol.

According to this post by Tim Panaccio at CSNPhilly on December 1, the Flyers went public with their annoyance about the ‘woo.’ Here’s the relevant part of the post:

Even though he started a “wooing” chant recently after a Flyers goal, even rookie Travis Konecny says the incessant Ric Flair chants from fans at the Wells Fargo Center have become distracting.

Veteran Flyer Jakub Voracek was very vocal in his dislike for it.

“It’s childish and annoying and it’s really starting to piss me off,” Voracek said. “The first period they are (bleeping) wooing. What are you? (Bleeping) 10 years old?”

Hakstol was not pleased, either.

“Let’s hope it’s a short-lived fad,” he said.

You know what’s annoying? Auto-playing videos on websites. Anyway, this statement is kind of rare to me. I can’t recall a time where, after a game, members of the organization speak out about something utterly harmless and inoffensive their own fans are doing. And admitting that it bothers them. Fans of any team opposing Philly now have the ammunition to irritate the Flyers. Which I, a fan on the right side of this rivalry, think is excellent. I and many other Devils fans now know what to yell tomorrow night at the Rock to get under a rival’s skin. I think that would be worth pursuing even if the Devils continue their awful streak.

But that’s just one way to look at this. Allow me to offer a different kind of perspective. First, please run, do not walk, to your collection of musical instruments so you can play a tiny violin for Mr. Jakub Voracek, Mr. Travis Konecny, and Mr. Dave Hakstol. While you do that, allow me to keep it real for a little bit.

Let’s pretend you’ve made a series of bad life choices and become a Flyers fan. (This will only last about two paragraphs, you can do it.) You’re watching the Flyers play. You’re pretty pleased. Even though you support Philly, you have the intelligence to at least know who Ric Flair is. In fact, if you’re from the Philly area, then you probably understand plenty about pro wrestling. You recognize that he’s been the man for so long that he’s a legend at it. You may not have the custom made clothes. You may not have the Rolex watches. You may not be able to have shoes that cost more than someone’s house. But you know about the woo. You know it can intimidate as much as it expresses joy or excitement. So you’re pretty jazzed that Steve Mason isn’t a sieve, Andrew MacDonald hasn’t been himself, and the team’s been hot. You’re all fired up. You let out the ‘woo’ when you can and you’re joined by thousands. All good, right?

And here comes Jakub Voracek, a man who is making ten million dollars this season, and it bothers him. A man who’s making eight figures in this season who is complaining that he’s bothered by the people, most of whom aren’t making that much, who give the organization some of that money he’s pocketing are having a good time. He’s mad about that. Mr. Moneybags thinks you’re being (bleeping) childish. Flyer, please. Joining him is Travis Konecny, a 19-year old making just shy of a million dollars in his first season of being a pro. He says it’s distracting - in a sport where bodies are crashing at each other at high speeds and players chirp profanities like water runs from a faucet. Sure. And they’re both supported by their manager, who may not be making $10 million but he’s certainly not driving a beater to games. He think it’s a fad when he’s more likely to get dumped from the bench before people want to stop stylin’ and profilin’ like the Nature Boy. And if they’re saying this, surely the other Flyers don’t like it all that much. The message from these near and multi-millionaires: Fans, stop having fun the way you want to have fun. We don’t like you enjoying yourselves this way.

The nerve of these people. The cheek of it. I despise the Flyers, but I feel for the Flyers fans for once. I really do.

And so I see an opportunity in tomorrow’s game. On December 22, the New Jersey Devils and the Flyers will play each other at the Rock. I suggest to all who are attending their game to woo it up. I want to hear it all game long, if possible. If you’re a Devils fan or someone who just hates Philadelphia, then you have something that can just irritate them. Again, it’s rare for the athlete to state that something inoffensive just plain bothers them. I don’t know of any other example in hockey. It may not stop how they play, but it can at least get under their skin. Give them the woo and give it to them often. It can ruin at least part of their night.

And if you’re a Flyers fan who made the trip up to Newark, well, first, I’m sure the Devils organization thanks you for your money. Second, you should woo at them too. Let them know that you’re your own fan and you’ll do as you please. Style and profile to your heart’s content.

I want a wave of woo’s on Thursday and in future Devils-Flyers games at the Rock. The classic Flair-style ‘woo’ will do just fine. I’m sure other ‘woo’s can work too. You can arch your back, cup your hands around your mouth, and let out a forceful ‘woo’ like you’re Sting. You can pump your fist or raise your arms like a champion and ‘woo’ after an exclamation like the late Owen Hart. You can even take care, spike your hair, and give out a ‘woo, woo, woo’ (you know it) like Zach Ryder. You can even do a dead-on impersonation of the Nature Boy like you’re Elizabeth’s own Jay Lethal. You don’t even need to do it like a wrestler. You can do it like the myriad of musicians and artists who bust out woo’s in song (e.g. several times in DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” (I linked a cleaner version of it - also if you do this, don’t forget your ‘what’s’ and ‘uhs.’)). Although to paraphrase another one: Win if you can, lose if you must, but always, always woo. Let them hear you loud and proud, my fellow fans.

As for Voracek, Konecny, Hakstol, and the other Flyers who’ve soiled their grumpypants over woo’s by their fans a couple of weeks ago, I hope you express some more displeasure about it after Thursday’s game. Then I can give you three more words: Wah. Wah. Wah.