The Life of an International NY Islanders Die-Hard: Czechia

Supporters of Czech presidential candidate and former...
Supporters of Czech presidential candidate and former... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
2 of 2

For Musil, born and raised in Prague, the Islanders' history drew him to becoming an international die-hard. While many people would be drawn in from the dynasty days while overlooking the struggles during the 90s and 2000s, those difficult times also drew Musil's attention.

"The more I read about the Islanders and their history, the more I was drawn to them," said Musil. "The history of the Islanders is fascinating to me. On one hand, you have the dynasty that is probably hard for anyone to surpass, like the number of consecutive playoff series wins. On the other hand, there were periods of absolute struggle, including the team being purchased by a fraud. And one day, I can't precisely say when, the Islanders became the only NHL team I rooted for - and it will remain that way. forever."

During the 1969-70 season, Jaroslav Jirik became the first Czech to ever play in an NHL game. His time in the league was short, playing only three games, but unlocked the door for the future Czech players who have left a lasting impact on the league. A nation built on hard work and passion, its citizens bring that same mentality to the rink every night for the game they love.

"Hockey isn't just a sport here," said Musil. "It's woven into the very fabric of our culture. Our arenas might be smaller, but the intensity and fervor with which fans support their teams rival any NHL arena."

While fans close to the Islanders feel the ups and downs of the game throughout the season, fans like Ondra, thousands of miles away, put themselves through the roller coaster of emotions as if they were here as well.

"Always remember that across the Atlantic, in the heart of Europe, you have kindred spirits cheering, celebrating, and sometimes commiserating alongside you, bound together by a shared love for this incredible game and for the New York Islanders."