Fandom knows no distance
With a six-hour time difference and over 3,700 miles separating Gothenburg and Elmont, remaining a loyal supporter can be demanding. While European soccer n the United States has taken off over the last decade, due to the US being behind Europe on the global clock, the games are typically seen in the early morning or early afternoon. For those Islander fans in Sweden, games generally begin at 1:30 am, making catching a game challenging, especially during the work week.
"A couple of years ago I used to watch maybe 60-65 games of the regular season, week games included," said Cedergren Larsson. "But you get tired. You can handle one day at work after being up during the night but not more. We do have an active Facebook group during games, and there’s always someone else awake watching, so you hardly ever feel lonely watching, even if it’s in the middle of the night."
During the Isles' first two seasons at UBS Arena, matinee games seemed few and far between. While plenty of fans on Long Island enjoy the occasional day game, the earlier start gives Cedergren Larsson and fellow Islanders fans in Sweden the opportunity to get together to enjoy the action.
"We’ve been doing so since 2014, and it’s either once or twice a season," said Cedergren Larsson. "The locations have been Stockholm and Gothenburg. They are the two largest cities in Sweden making it easiest to travel to from the rest of the country. We are usually between 10-15 people at these meetups. Many of us have been participating since the beginning, so we have started to know each other pretty well, I would say."
The group has even convinced a former Islanders goaltender to join them at one of their meetups. "Once we invited Islanders alumni Tommy Soderstrom to the meet, and surprisingly he showed up. After we sat down and he answered all our questions about the time he played on Long Island, we no longer were surprised he came. I’ve never met a more relaxed and down-to-earth former world athlete. We loved every single minute of it, and it’s something we’ll never forget."