It is the heart of the summer and with training camp still over a month away and little new hockey news to talk about, it is time to take a different perspective on the New York Islanders; their most dedicated fan.
I imagine this is going to ruffle some feathers and I look forward to your comments but hear me out on this, my daughter Ashley may be the most dedicated and rabid New York Islanders fan and here are five reasons why:
1. When she was eight years old and I was re-painting her room, pink and purple didn’t work for her. Nope, only Islander blue for her room. This came about as we were paint shopping at a home improvement store and she spotted New York Islander border wallpaper. She determined that it would be Islander blue on the walls with Isles border paper around the top.
I was also required to hang Islander player pictures including her favorite at the time, Jason Blake, and the many signed pucks and sticks she accumulated in her “long” tenure as an Isles fan. The running joke was when someone saw her room they would ask, “what’s your son’s name?”
2. As a season ticket holder, Ashley was able to attend Islander games at a young age and she quickly made friends throughout the coliseum. Eventually, we joined the New York Islander Booster Club and Ashley would make her way to their table in between each period and work with Rose to raise money and promote the club. She loved “working” with the ladies and became such a staple with them that in one of their newsletters they wrote an article about her.
3. As a teacher in Georgia, Ashley still wears and sports her New York Islander jersey. During school pride days is she wearing the school colors? Nope, she is wearing her signed Casey Cizikas sweater. The students know her Islander fanaticism and she will tussle with anyone who doubts her hockey knowledge. If you want to talk Islander hockey with her be prepared to discuss line combinations, power play strategy, and other Islander hockey knowledge.
At this point, the reader is wondering so what, many fans feel the same way. True, however:
4. Living in Georgia Ashley tries to attend as many Islander games as possible and we try to road trip a game or two as well every season. If you sit with her during a game you best put your phone away during play, and you better not talk to her about anything other than what is happening in on the ice.
No joke, she is 100% dedicated to watching and analyzing the play and game. Want a selfie, that should be during a stoppage of play. Want to text your friend about how great the Islanders are doing, don’t do it when the play is going on or you will get a look and reminded about what is happening on the ice.
5. Like all parents I’m proud of my daughter and how smart, talented and driven of a young woman she is but if I was a suitor of her, I would be terrified!
Not of how smart and driven she is, but of her hockey and Islander dedication. Ashley has broken up with guys that were not into hockey and didn’t appreciate the sport. Imagine living in the heart of the south and trying to find a man who can appreciate hockey the way she does.
There are stories of dates where the first question she asks her date is, “do you like hockey and if so, what’s your favorite team?” Could be hyperbole but knowing Ashley, I wouldn’t doubt it.
But this I know for a fact. During this year’s playoff run, she came home to watch a Penguins game with her new boyfriend. He was required to wear an Islander shirt and root for the team while also strongly encouraged to become an Islander fan. He also learned quickly don’t talk to her during play, she’s not listening to him.
He must have passed the test and I know he really likes her, as he is now an Islander fan and supports her hockey obsession. Unfortunately, she had to become a Cubs fan but that’s a different story for a different day!