ORLANDO, FLA – Professional sports have become big business over the years. The one thing that has not changed is that without the fans, none of it would be possible. There is an organization out there that is in the business of honoring the fans – and they want to find out who the most passionate hockey fans.
The name of the organization is What A Fan and it is combining forces with ProHockeyNews.com to honor fans who bleed their team’s colors while making a difference in the community. Starting at the end of January, a What A Fan/ProHockeyNews.com Fan of the Month will be highlighted on each organization’s web site and have an opportunity to be named as What A Fan’s Hockey Fan of the Year at its sports fan conference in Orlando during Labor Day weekend.
“Hockey fans in general I think are probably unsung heroes. They don’t get a lot of attention. You don’t see them all the time. You don’t see them on television a lot but they are as equally important to the game of hockey and the industry of hockey as any other team’s fan are,” What A Fan Executive Producer Lowell Moore said. “This opportunity for us with ProHockeyNews.com gives us an opportunity to talk to hockey fans where they live, where they go and to celebrate their passion for the game of hockey.”
Fans will be able to go to www.whatafan.com to refer their family members and friends as the ultimate hockey fans. Each month, What A Fan will select a fan to highlight with a bio story and hopefully a photo or two. Readers will be able to learn about what makes hockey fans tick.
The idea of What A Fan came about some fifteen years ago and like many concepts, it had its origins drawn on a napkin in of all places Las Vegas.
“I had my daughter with me and she was in the pool at the hotel we were staying at. I was watching a game on the [TV] screen that was out there and they cut to a fan on the screen and he was losing his mind,” Moore said. “It literally hit me in that moment. I wondered what that guy’s life is like. I started writing on a napkin and I ended up probably going through a stack of napkins about an inch thick with this concept.”
Moore said that over time the scope of What A Fan has changed. There were plenty of big businesses that said it would never work but Moore’s background as a player representative told him otherwise.
A big part of What A Fan’s mission statement is involvement in the community. What A Fan Charities, the philanthropic wing of the organization, currently has initiatives going on to raise awareness of curbing violence in the stands and the “Fans Against Child Abuse” campaign.
“The mission of Fans Against Child Abuse is to bring much more public awareness of this issue that’s affecting families daily. Currently as we’re talking, someone is getting beat up and we sweep it under the rug,” Moore said. “We want to stimulate a dialogue. We want people to talk about it. We want conversations to take place. We want the media to get involved. Until we as a country start a dialogue and are willing to talk about this topic that we know is horrible to talk about but we’ve got to. That’s when change will happen.”
Knowing that many fans participate in charitable endeavors, What A Fan recognizes the work that fans do in their communities by supporting efforts on the local level. Moore said that working with the fans has become a service of honor.
“We are doing a lot with charities and paying homage to these fans that are doing things in their communities. A lot of them are doing more in their communities than some of the athletes and the teams they support – and that’s reality,” he said.
Every fan entered in the What A Fan/ProHockeyNews.com Hockey Fan of the Month contest will be eligible for the What A Fan Awards at the Sports Fan Conference in Orlando. The conference brings fans from all sports together for a weekend of exhibits, workshops, fund raising events, parties and the What A Fan Awards where the biggest fans in sports will be acknowledged with trophies and championship rings.
The first Sports Fan Conference was held this past Labor Day weekend. It drew thousands of fans from all over the country and the world to Orlando’s International Drive tourist area. In addition to the fan awards, an American Sports Icon award was given to legendary basketball coach and ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale.
“It was a historic weekend for sports fans and the sports industry. It had never been done before,” Moore said. “It was a great blend of professional athletes that were presenters, a historian like Dickie V and some super fans who have made a significant impact on their communities and for their teams. We’re looking forward to continuing it.”
So if you are or know of a diehard hockey fan who is active in the community, get on over to the What A Fan website and you may just be the next What A Fan/ProHockeyNews.com Hockey Fan of the Month.
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