A Fan Rant… Support the Bears, Don’t Bash Them

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Posted January 24, 2017

Injuries to players such a Madison Bowey haven’t helped matters recently. (Caps Outsider)

Disclaimer: The opinions below are my own. They are not meant to be towards any certain person(s) actions or quotes. I’m just a frustrated fan with something to say. 

Over the past few weeks, the Hershey Bears have hit a rough patch, posting a 1-7-2 record in the month of January. During this skid there has been a mood change among fans in Chocolatetown who are very used to success in Hershey. Unfortunately folks, skids happen.

Being a fan is not about being supportive of a team only when they are winning. We can’t win them all… Fans need to support their teams through good times and bad. Yes, this can be frustrating, but what good does it do to boo your teams, or post really harsh comments about members of the team, staff, or the organization in general. Let me just say this… it doesn’t help. I’m just as guilty for making comments about players and coaches in the past, but the level of some posts that I have seen on sites such as Facebook and Twitter are out of hand. Just to make it clear, fans are entitled to their opinions on how the team is performing, but some of the “issues” that have caused this slump are out of any one person’s hands.

Calling for a coach’s head because of rare slump? Come on now… that is a little ridiculous. Sure the record for January has been lackluster, but what has caused this slump?

The Bears are plagued with injuries right now. Madison Bowey is out until April with an injury he sustained in December. Before his injury, Bowey was the target of jarring from the fans of his “bad play”. Here is a fun fact, since he has been out with his injury, Hershey has won just two games… that’s right two. So obviously his play had some impact on the Bears’ success in the early part of the season.

Saturday against the Phantoms, Tyler Lewington was injured which kept him out Sunday. This put the Bears at a disadvantage defensively again. Darren Dietz and Christian Djoos have been scratched for injuries this season as well. The thing is, injuries happen and this isn’t something that a team can anticipate.

Not only have the Bears lost defensemen, but you need to look at forwards Riley Barber and Dustin Gazely who have also missed significant time due to the relentless injury bug that has taken over Hershey’s locker room.

Is this the only reason for the Bears bad run lately? Of course not. Things are just not clicking on the ice for the team as a whole. The goalies are struggling as well as the offense. There needs to be more production all around.

But my question is, in a time that the team needs support the most, why are some fans figuratively turning their back on Hershey? That’s not cool.

With the new four year agreement with Washington there have been some changes on player moves. VP of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer can only sign players to ATOs and PTOs. This ties the hands of Hershey. Washington is in charge of any major roster moves. Maybe it’s time for the Caps to look at making a move to get the team back on track.

Troy Mann said in his postgame interview last night that the frustration in the locker room has hit its high point, so it’s not like this situation isn’t impacting the team as well. In no way, shape, or form has this team “packed it in” or “given up”. There is still a good bit left in the 2016-2017 campaign for the Bears. Maybe the All-Star break is just what this team needs to wipe the slate clean and come back energized and ready to play.

Post Game Presser from Sunday

Yes, Bears fans are very passionate about their team, but there is a fine line between being a passionate fan, and an “Arena Seat Coach.” There are a lot of ASCs right now that believe they know what is best for the team and what Hershey needs to do to improve. I have news for these ASCs… there is a reason the you are in your seat watching the game and not behind the bench. I’m guilty of being and ASC as well just so we have that clear.

Taking to Facebook, Twitter, blogs or any other source of media to vent frustrations is a common practice for all sports fans. I went on my own rant last night about the posts that have been surfacing calling for basically the entire Hershey Bears organization to be fired. When the Bears right the ship, and they will, all of the ASCs will take a step back and let the organization just do their thing.

How soon we forget, that a lot of the guys who take the ice in the Bears sweater this season were part of the amazing Calder Cup run last year. All teams face adversity, and right now it’s the Bears that have to deal with the hand they have been dealt. This isn’t a coaching problem, or a staff problem, or a decision making problem… it’s just how the proverbial puck bounces.

Again, the point of this post is not to attack any specific person or entity. All I’m asking for is a unified front to keep the spirit up with in Giant Center. The team is facing some serious adversity for the first time in a while. Being negative isn’t the way to help them get back on track. The Bears mantra is to “Defend the Den” not “Attack Your Den-mates”. So from one Bears fan to the rest of the Chocolate and White faithful, let us try to support our team in hopes that they get bak on track soon.

Scott Payonk

Follow me on Twitter: @ScottP_Hockey for in game hockey updates and all other things hockey.