Article by N. Schoonderbeek/Media by C. Archer & N. Schoonderbeek
This is the second article in a multi-part series exploring the Eagles’ fandom – a community of people who passionately support the team.
The Superfans likely got their name from being the most boisterous crowd in the arena. The Superfans are known for hanging posters for every game and loudly cheering the players on.
When he took on the volunteer position of social media manager for the Eagles a few years ago, Chris Archer knew how the team could partially compensate for his time. “I’ve been working with special needs for quite a while. My brother is special needs,” Archer shared. “One of my conditions, since it was a volunteer position, was that they have some kind of special needs rate or discount of some kind. Our guys have always been Gens fans, but they like when they can come out to something like this because they get to actually talk to the players, go in the room, and get autographs.”
But how did the tradition with the prominent posters at Rickard start? Chris planned an event with the Superfans to make some posters for games a few years ago. But some players wanted to know why they didn’t get a sign when others did. “So now everyone gets a poster,” explained Chris, who bought stencils and other supplies to help with sign creation. The content of the posters has changed over time, ending up with the current version with the player names. Several posters were used to spell the word Eagles in a previous year. “They were giant letters. That was something fun. So different things, whatever we can do in that way.”
The superfans typically arrive in carpools organized by their parents. Before COVID, Archer would drive a full carload to every game. He’s just starting to do that again now that things are becoming more settled, so the Superfans can also be seen cheering the team on at away games as well.
Sarah McPhee enthusiastically volunteered to be interviewed for this story. And by that, I mean that she was willing to run anyone over who tried to get in her way! She’s a top fan who has been coming to Eagles games for about three and a half years.
“I like that it’s close by,” said Sarah. “I’ve met most of the Eagles players and I have a great time with all of my friends.”
Her favourite Eagle is defenceman Carter Watkins, who is in his final year of eligibility with the Eagles. “He’s very good. He protects our goalie. And he gave me a hockey stick that I have at home,” Sarah shared.
Carter Watkins signed the stick for Sarah, and her father plans to frame it for her this summer.
Sarah was pleased with the Eagles’ play against the Georgina Ice on the day of her interview. “They’re dominating them in the first, so I’m happy they’re beating them. I just hope they beat them in the finals,” she said after the first period. The Eagles went on to a lopsided 9-1 win that day.
Sam does not have a favourite Eagle. He likes them all too much! Despite being only the second round of playoffs, he told me he was already feeling sure that the Eagles would go on to win the Schmalz Cup this year.
“They’re doing pretty good. They got, like, six to nothing!” remarked Sam of the team’s performance in the first period that day.
This is the first year that Jessica Clarke has come to watch the Eagles play.
“My friends recommended it to me from the group. I’ve been enjoying watching them and it’s been really amazing. I’m actually having a blast watching them,” exclaimed Jessica. “They’re better than the Generals, watching them! It’s been a real treat to see a team so powerful and so amazing at what they do!” she shared with a hearty laugh.
Jessica can’t decide on just one favourite Eagle to cheer for. “I’d say it’s between Shaw and a couple of the taller guys. I’m not sure about their names, but I love how they are always getting in there and they’re always trying to get goals,” she says. “But they’re also just listening to us fans and just keep on moving forward and go.”
Jessica added that the boys were playing “phenomenally tonight.” So much so that she was losing her voice from screaming to “get them motivated to keep them moving. And maybe getting the team a little wound up with the other team.”