Islanders: How Far We’ve Come As Fans
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders have the best fans in sports. Okay, I realize that I’m likely biased because I too am a fan of the team but seriously, how many more examples do you need to see that it’s the truth?
Last night was the perfect example. After Game 5, Bruce Cassidy called the Islanders “Saints” for seemingly never getting called for a penalty. Well, that’s all this fanbase needed.
Yesterday at the Coliseum, I saw people with halo’s, someone in a full priest robe, and there was even a small band outside playing when the “Saints Go Marching In”.
Then once the game started, the fans did what they did best. 12,000 felt like 20,000 and they were relentless all game long, as expected. When the final horn went off, signaling the Islanders clinching a spot as one of the four teams remaining I couldn’t help but smile.
Obviously, because in the moment you’re so happy, but because of where we’ve come from. When I was in college, I’d go to like 10-15 home games a year strictly getting tickets off stubhub for single digit dollars.
$6 would get you a Tuesday night matchup of Kevin Poulin and the Islanders going up against just about any team not named the Rangers. I spent in a season on tickets probably the average cost of a nosebleed seat from last night.
And I couldn’t be happier to shell out that money now. No more half filled barns, no arena jokes, no terrible General Managing, no cheap owners, no inexperienced coaches. The New York Islanders, for the first time in my lifetime, are big time.
They’ve been that way for the last three years because ownership spends and then gets out of the way and they have a Hall of Fame GM and Coach behind the bench. I know it’s been three years already but sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I say that.
Enjoy this. For anyone my age, this is unfathamoble. The New York Islanders, our little team from Uniondale, are one of four teams left. Again.
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The biggest difference from last year? No more neutral ice. The Isles will have the luxury of playing their home games at the best building in sports, and for that we should be extremely thankful. Islanders in 6.