A puck bunny is a female ice hockey fan, often one whose interest in the sport is primarily motivated by sexual attraction to the players rather than enjoyment of the game itself. Primarily a Canadian term, it gained popular currency in the 21st century, and in 2004 was added to the second edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary which defines it as follows:
Puck bunny: a young female hockey fan, especially one motivated more by a desire to meet the players than by an interest in hockey.
The term is somewhat analogous to the term groupie as it relates to rock and roll musicians. Sociological studies of the phenomenon in minor league hockey indicate that self-proclaimed "puck bunnies" are "'proud as punch' to have sex with the [players]", as it confers social status on them. However, these transitory relationships are often contrasted with those of girlfriends, with whom players have more stable, long-term relationships.
The term 'puck bunny', which is applied almost exclusively to female ice hockey fans, implies that these supporters are 'inauthentic', not 'dedicated' in their support, and are more interested in the sexual attractiveness of the players rather than the sport itself.
However, their study suggests that female fans at games are often just as knowledgeable as the male fans, and that the physical attractiveness of players does not necessarily play a significant role in attracting females to the sport. Consequently, many female fans object to the term, as they are often viewed and described as puck bunnies simply by their presence at a game, regardless of their true intentions or motivations. Other female fans embrace the use of the term as a way of making a distinction between a puck bunny and a "true" female fan of the sport.
In similar terminology, a female fan who hangs around rodeo cowboys is called a "buckle bunny", in reference to large belt-buckles given as awards.
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- CBC's "Puck Bunny" blog for the television program MVP
- A journalist's account of Hockey Night in Canada
- Nallainathan, Maurika. "Puck Bunnies". The Vancouver Observer. November 16, 2006. http://www.thevancouverobserver.com/cgi-bin/show_sitemap_article.cgi?ID=46
- "5,000 new words". CBC News. 2004-07-24. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Barber, Katherine (January 20, 2005). Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-541816-3.
- Messner, Michael A. (2002). Taking the Field: Women, Men, Bobby Jones and Sports. University of Minnesota Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-8166-3449-1.
- Crawford, Garry; Victoria K. Gosling (2004). "The Myth of the 'Puck Bunny'". Sociology 38 (3): 477–493. doi:10.1177/0038038504043214.