Jennifer shows up to the next morning’s practice only to find that it’s open to the public. A young woman introduces herself.
“I’m Chelsea, groupie extraordinaire” (32).
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been to a fair number of Coyotes practices and I’ve seen the other regulars. I even saw some who I thought were, frankly, a little obsessed (yes, more than me). And I don’t think any of them would introduce themselves that way. Chelsea is one of a group of four who not only come to every practice (every public one and even some that aren’t, apparently) but also follow the team. After this day’s practice, they’re driving to Montreal to see that night’s game.
Jennifer wonders how these women have jobs that allow them to tailor their schedules around the team. Flurry and I wondered that about other people we saw at practices. (We were graduate students.) And that wasn’t even for people who went to away games. She also notices that the women don’t dress like puck bunnies (dressed to get noticed) but were in appropriate hockey rink clothes. She speaks with Chelsea for a while, then asks if she can send her cameraman (Bryce) along with the women to Montreal for footage and they say yes.
I really hope Chelsea has a car that fits more than five. Because sure, there’d ‘only’ be five of them, plus luggage and camera equipment, but that’s a 7 and a ½ hour drive, without stops, from Philadelphia to Montreal. That sounds awfully squishy.
Jennifer loses some of her enthusiasm for Axel and the team when she learns they have groupies.
Did he have female fans who shadowed his movements? The idea rankled (32).
The idea should more than rankle because that’s called stalking, if all those movements are shadowed.
The fans “squeal” as some players skate their way and grin at them. I’ve also never seen that happen at practice. Then when the team leaves the ice, they “thronged the tunnels” for a chance at getting high fives.
This really reads like the team is practicing not at a practice facility but at their arena. Or, more to the point, like the author hasn’t seen the difference. Once again, you wouldn’t need a tunnel (which protects the players from the fans) if you’re at a practice facility. That said, the only practices I’ve been to have been the Coyotes’, so it’s possible that the setup is different elsewhere. I know that the Canucks, for example, don’t have open practices (except one that you have to pay for and which does happen at their actual arena.) Most teams do have open practices, at their practice facilities, though.
(It’s also weird to me that whole team is leaving the ice at once, the way they do after games. During Coyotes’ practices, they left in ones and twos over a period of time. Some would need more time with one of the specific coaches or just wanted more time to drill.)
The other oddity is that apparently the ticket sales aren’t great for the Philadelphia Phantoms (there’s talk with the groupies about boosting ticket sales from the documentary series.) There are NHL teams that need sales boosted—the Coyotes are one of them (but far from the only one!) But Philadelphia? Really? I just don’t understand it. This is another thing that reads more like an AHL or ECHL team rather than NHL.
The scene ends for Jennifer when she sees that Chelsea-the-super-fan has Axel’s player number tattooed on her wrist. It’s played like a “dunh-dunh-dunnnnhhhh” reveal but I don’t understand why. The more groupie-like someone is, the less likely they’d be to actually attract someone’s serious attention, in my opinion. And it’s not like Chelsea needed Axel’s permission to get the tattoo.