1. Know the set up.
I don't want to dumb this down for anyone but just to be clear there are THREE PERIODS in hockey and each one is 20 minutes long. That means there are TWO INTERMISSIONS in between. The clock stops when the refs blow the whistle, this is not football, my friends. Each team has FIVE players on the ice PLUS a goalie pending there are no penalties. There are THREE forwards: leftwing, centre, and rightwing. There are TWO defenders: Left D and Right D (please use these terms).
2. Learn the rules.
Or simply learn the most important rules. One of the easiest, most frequent and pretty important rule is the offside. Each side of the rink (please don't call it a "rink" infront of the guys, it's the ICE) has a blue line and the red line is the very centre of the ice. This blue line is the offside line. The attacking team (the team trying to score) must all be outside of this attacking zone WITH the puck BEFORE the puck is sent into the zone. This means that if a player is in the zone BEFORE the puck is AND TOUCHES IT, it is an offside penalty. This DOES NOT mean that the player is sent to the box, it's basically a team penalty and the face-off is back in their own defending zone. Also, if a player or players happen to be in the zone and the puck is hit OUT or PASSED the BLUE LINE then each player in the zone must get out and start over. Make sense? Awesome.
3. Know at least 5 players on the "beloved" team.
Everyone has their "own" team. And you can probably figure out what it is faster than simply asking. But for heaven's sake NEVER ASSUME what their team is. That can end in a disaster and won't be pretty at all, that's clearly a potential deal breaker. Just figure it out, google the team and memorize 5 players, their names and perhaps even their positions. THEN, when watching the game quickly point them out and say something hockey smart like, "Is Gionta looking to beat his record of goals this season, he's looking pretty good". Now is not the time to worry about grammar or a variety of adjectives, get the point across and sound like you know what you're talking about.
4. Fall in love.
It's easiest to make step #3 even better if you can manage to fall head over heels with one of the players on the "beloved" team. Don't worry, the boyfriend will rarely find this as competition or anything of that nature. More often than not this will be a TOTAL game changer (hehe) and he will fall in love with you for really understanding that his heart lies in three places: you (hopefully), beer and food, and hockey. Find this player and follow him whenever he is on the ice. Know his position, know his number, know how to PROPERLY PRONOUNCE HIS NAME. Youtube can help with this.
I fell in love....twice.
5. Invest in team merchandise.
Unless you are a lifetime fan of said "beloved" team yourself OR you make $1000 bucks a week or something DO NOT buy a jersey of said team. You will only be wasting your money incase 1. He breaks up with you or 2. He's ones of those losers and switches his team as soon as the playoffs starts (helllllloooo Leafs fans). Save yourself some sanity and money by simply buying a T-Shirt. This is both much more affordable and way more fashionable.
6. Refrain from yelling of any kind.
I know it's exciting and pretty crazy sometimes but unless you are that loud and/or obnoxious person please refrain from yelling while you are watching the game with him. He will either see through you and realize you're trying too hard or just get super annoyed (as I would as well). Hockey can be a serious thing for some people and if you're going to be sitting there pretending to yell at exciting parts, this can be a HUGE distraction. My advice for you, scream and yell when the "beloved" team scores and then keep your mouth closed for the majority of the game. It's like watching a movie, be courteous.
7. Don't ask questions.
NEVER, oh my goodness, EVER ask any questions during the game. If your boyfriend is pretty cool perhaps commercials are allowed for question asking (you could find this out pretty quickly). If not, then no worries, grab a computer, google you're question or hey, send me an e-mail. I feel hockey smart right now.
Don't be tense, have fun.