It's a Saturday night in Boise, there's snow on the ground and you're looking for some fun. What else is there to do that could possibly be more fun than an Idaho Steelheads game?

Nothing. Or so we thought.

For decades, the Idaho Steelheads have been a staple in our community. Win or lose, Treasure Valley residents flock to the unique atmosphere of Idaho Central Arena for some hockey. You'll hear the "whoo!" chants, the "hey goalie you suck" cheers, and plenty of cowbells. There isn't a bad seat in the house--and there's something for everyone. A beer or cocktail for the adults, some pizza for the kids, entertaining activities on the ice during breaks and the world-famous 'Chuck-A-Puck'.

From time to time you might see a fight...on the ice. That's the beauty of the game!

A fight in the stands? We're good on that. While we're in the stands cheering on the Steelheads--that tension can, and should, stay on the ice.

This is an open letter to the fans that are just a little too grumpy, a little too serious, and a little out of line for what the Idaho Steelheads stand for.

We found ourselves at an Idaho Steelheads hockey game over the weekend--our first of the year. Tickets these days are hard to come by--the team is on fire! What we didn't expect was for fellow Steelhead fans to scream vulgarities at us. Literally.

Before taking out seats, we waited at the top of the stairs for the whistle-- as one does to be polite. Once we were in the clear, as informed by the kind arena worker, we made our way down to our seats. Getting to those seats required shuffling past some folks--the seats that are right behind the glass.  We did so swiftly--but not without being yelled at.

The fans sitting front row had all sorts of colorful words to yell at us for walking in front of their view.

How dare we? How else were we supposed to get to our seats?

At first, we had thought they were being funny. Hey--we're all for some humor. Plot twist: they were being dead serious and it was a total mood killer.

After some time passed at the game, we witnessed this happen to other folks-- over and over. A particular group of fans, clearly, has an opinion on just about everyone that walks up, down, around, or in front of them. Nothing about it felt very 'Boise'--and none of it left us wanting to stay at the game.

Some folks sitting near us were also yelled at--their first (and probably last) time going to support the team.

There's a lot going on in the world right now--and everyone is allowed to have a bad day or three. We get it. The trend of angrily yelling at other fans that were somehow inconveniencing you--while all sharing in the same goal of rooting for the Steelheads--just sucked. Bringing homemade signs and caution tape to keep other fans away? Is that fire code compliant? The regulars sitting near us told us that this behavior is regular, too.

What a shame.

It's nothing personal, grumpy fans. We'll be back--probably just in another section. I would, however, like to challenge you to be a little bit more welcoming. You're sitting front row and from what we can tell--you do so regularly. Kudos on being real fans--the team needs them, and people just like you!  But yelling at first timers and fellow Boise residents isn't any sort of way to enthuse or inspire others to match your support. As a born and raised Boisean, I didn't love being yelled at and I've never felt so "not in Boise" before... I can assure you that the others you yelled at didn't love it either. Sports bring out emotions--and that's ok--but how would you like to be yelled at? Yell at the Refs!

Perhaps moving forward, we can all wrap our arms around our fellow fans and cheer together. Everybody belongs, nobody is in the way, oh--and it's a family venue!

Go Steelheads.

Looking for some pointers on how to improve your behavior as an enthusiastic, diehard Idaho Steelheads fan? Here are a few simple thoughts to check out...

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