My brother-in-law is a Calgary Flames fan. He married a Vancouver Canucks fan.
This in itself isn't the end of the world. Inter-faith marriage is tough, but it can be done. Reasonable hockey fans are capable of reaching across enemy lines, and if the enemy occasionally rolls around naked with you, that makes the arrangement even more tolerable. But everything changes when kids get involved. Now my brother-in-law and his wife are expecting, and suddenly, their differing fandoms matter. For whom will the baby cheer?
It matters now because, in a great many cases, our fandoms are spoken into us by our parents. Some kids eschew these affiliations as they age, and occasionally, something they see (like, say, a logo of a skating, bescarfed penguin) moves them enough to win them over. But many are quite literally born into a fanbase.
One day they'll understand the generational curse they've inherited -- the fear, the self-loathing, the disappointment, the inevitable alcoholism. But these kids are years away from understanding the toolbar of despair that auto-installs when we download the teams of our fathers. For now, they're just babies in hats, and there's something about that innocence being draped in logos and colours with so much baggage that I find incredibly meaningful.
Mind you, it's also just really cute.
With that in mind, may I introduce "Ice, Ice Babies", the official home for photos of infants in NHL team gear. If you've recently turned your child into a living, breathing NHL gnome (since all babies look like old men), by all means, send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. And in the meantime, feast your eyes on this onslaught of adorability.
This kid looks tough. Come to think of it, the Oilers could use some more toughness, and he's about the right age. [Source]
Baby Canes fan reacts to the Hurricanes Stanley Cup win with about as much indifference as the rest of the Carolinas. [Source]
If this poor kid thinks being in the knit Canucks' sock is a drag, just wait until he finds himself packed into the metaphorical sock that is a crowd of 100,000 people in downtown Vancouver on the night the Canucks lose a Stanley Cup Final Game 7.
This kid seems more at ease with the arrangement. Give it time. [@joed76]
This is Colby Armstrong's baby in Colby Armstrong's gloves, but I like to imagine it's actually just a kid pissed he was born with giant blue hands. He's like, Aw, nuts. People are gonna notice this.
This photo of a newborn baby resting on an old-school Winnipeg Jets jersey was taken less than two weeks before the Jets returned to Winnipeg. I think placing him on the sweater was akin to when the couple buries the box in their backyard in The Odd Life of Timothy Green. [Source]
Clearly, not every Canadian was into that gold medal game. This kid looks about ready to poop himself. Mind you, that's sort of what these things do.
"You're a Calgary Flames fan by default since daddy and mama lived in Calgary before you were born," says the website. Great, this won't suck at all, says the baby's face. [Source]
These babies just get it. Some rivalries are innate. [Source]