Brave selfie goes viral


It was the selfie that went viral throughout the Australian Ice Hockey League, two CBR Brave fans getting up close and personal with star import Stephen Blunden.

Blunden summonsed to the penalty box during the first period would sit in the box with two Brave fans and take the photo snap.

The AIHL is a tight-knit community, it’s what makes the league a special one compared to your more high profile competitions in Australia.

While the two Brave fans who were involved in the photo are passionate loyal followers, should it be something that we are promoting as acceptable?

As the AIHL continues to strive to look and act like a professional league, the image of the fans and Blunden in the penalty box – while entertaining – could have ended badly if the wrong people were involved.

The two fans are well known throughout the Phillips Ice Skating Centre and parts of the AIHL, even described as ‘mascots’, Blunden was obviously comfortable with their presence, so no harm was done.

I wonder if the actions of two honest supporters will be looked on as though a player in the penalty box is free to approach from other fans on game day.

For the majority of circumstances AIHL fans are well behaved and some of the best in the country, but it only takes one person to turn the accessibility to players and coaches into a closed shop.

We see in North America the green men of Vancouver, fans giving lip service to players in the penalty box, a point of difference is players having the safety of perplex glass protection from the crowd.

In the AIHL some rinks don’t give players that luxury.

Players who enter the penalty box are generally not in the ‘selfie’ mood following their on ice indiscretion, even for the fan it’s a risk to make their way into the penalised area.

Fan safety should also be a high priority on game day.

When speaking to AIHL fans and people involved at club level, it was described as “not a good look” and “promoting bad behaviour” something which wouldn’t be limited to just the few I spoke to.

Keeping the community feel and engagement with the players is something the AIHL needs to continue to embrace, fans love it, and fans relate to it.

But we need to make sure players and spectators are protected during the 50 minutes of match time out on the ice.

Better equipped penalty boxes or stewards guarding the area will help keep players safe from eager rink fans.

Fans get the opportunity to take photos, get autographs and chat with their favourite players when clubs allow supporters access post match.

Penalty boxes are a safe haven for players to cool off.

Maybe we should keep the selfies until after the final buzzer.