That said, this is a cool thread idea, a departure from all that redundant offseason crap.
Born in '83, grew up playing hockey and soccer. Hockey was my favorite sport, going to my first Islander game in '90 (I think), sponged a game off of my wealthy friend who had season tix. Never looked back after that, guess it helped that they were a relatively good team at the time. A prelude into the darker years of the '90's, I didn't become the devout fan I am today (you know, the one who checks a hockey message board every freaking day) until 2001, the franchise's neo-renaissance, according to some. Being Long Island's only real professional team also makes the attachment easier.
I don't think I follow anything as much as I follow this team. All the crap we've been through will make this team's rise even sweeter. When I hear stories about fans who were alive during NYI's glory years, makes me think I was born in the wrong era...or... wrong country.
Born in 1968 in New Jersey. Came across hockey on TV as a youngster, circa 1975. We got Islanders and Rangers games in New Jersey, and the Islanders' logo and colors appealed to me more than the Rangers.
I started following the team then, and kept following them when my family moved to Florida in 1978 (long before the Lightning and Panthers came into existence.) I was surrounded by many New York natives in South Florida, of course, so a group of us schoolkids were delirious when the Islanders dynasty took off. Of course, we were also crushed when the dynasty came to an end against the Edmonton Oilers.
I stayed with the Islanders through New Jersey getting a team in 1982, and Florida getting a team in 1993. Even now, living in Nashville, I love the Predators but the Islanders are my Eastern Conference team and I still follow them.
Born in NJ in 1984. When I started watching hockey with my brothers in '93, I loved watching that Islanders team. Had a Turgeon jersey but my favorite player was Benoit Hogue for some reason (also had his ironed on jersey; Turgeon was sewn). Amazingly we eventually got seasons tickets to the Devils for a few years, and my family have all been Devils fans. I remember going to the cup final for NJ against the Red Wings, rooting for the Isles the entire time. Then I remember '94...
...not much has changed since that postseason. Until now I'm hoping...
I was born in 1959 and grew up on Long Island. I became a hockey fan at about 11 years old, but never really liked the Rangers. When the Isles came into existence, it was logical for me to follow them from day 1. Then the Islanders practiced in a rink in my hometown - Racquet & Ring in Farmingdale and I used to go there all the time as a teenager. The players would hang out after practice and talk with us kids - Trottier, Howatt, Potvin, Smith - it was great and a love affair began. Then came the playoffs in 75 and it became an addiction. Been that way ever since. As a Jets, Islanders, and Mets fan, the only team with any sustained success growing up was the Isles and I will be forever thankful for those memories.
My parents got me into it and made me a huge fan at a very young age. I remember when I was about 5 years old I would be scared to go to the Coliseum to watch a game because it was so loud. I still watched every single game on TV and loved it. While other kids were watching cartoon network, I would be watching Islanders gamenight on Fox Sports Net. My mom would make me go to sleep before the 3rd period most nights so I would make sure to wake up my dad before kindergarten in the morning to find out the score.
Mom and pop were both born and raised on LI, Bellmore and Wantagh respectively. They briefly moved to Maryland in '77 (where I was born in '78) and then CT before returning to LI in '79.
Pops was a Yankee and Giants fan as a kid and he kind of passed those on to me. Not exactly sure when he became an Islander fan, but he passed that one onto me as well. No real memories of the first three Cups, but I'm told I watched them all with my dad on TV. Some of my earliest memories are of the 4th Cup and then I remember being confused when we lost in '85.
Since then, just lots of memories that have cemented the bond...
Remember watching the entire Easter Epic, dad nudging every once in awhile so I didn't fall asleep.
Remember jumping up and down as Pierre put the final nail in Washington's coffin and a second later, cursing like a sailor at Dale ****ing Hunter.
Remember watching as the boys rose up and shocked the Penguins (is the guy who threw the stuffed penguin with a noose around it's neck in Gm 6 on the boards??).
Remember being sick to my stomach as the NY ex-Oilers finished their purchase of the Cup in '94.
Remember being equally as sick to my stomach in early '95 as I opened up Newsday one morning and saw some god-awful redesigned logo.
Remember the ultimate insult that was John Spano.
Remember the darkest days of the Milbury regime.
Remember the light at the end of the tunnel that was Wang/Kumar...or maybe it was an oncoming train?
Remember Yashin and Peca arriving, Osgood falling into our laps and then having to pinch myself as the boys went 9-1-1 in October.
Remember listening on the radio in the car as we beat the Caps to finally make it back to the post-season. Remember doing shots with Bates one random night at Mulcahy's.
Remember working in NYC for peanuts, but still putting aside enough for playoff tickets.
Remember the Coliseum shaking an hour before Game 3 against Toronto. Remember it shaking even more when Bates scored in Game 4. Remember the anger I had for Tucker, anger I hadn't felt since Dale Hunter.
Remember moving to Miami in '03 and immediately checking to see when the Islanders would be in town.
Remember getting Ryan Smyth and thinking this might be the year we make a run! Remember DP screwing it all up soon after. Remember Doobie breaking out the lightSabre to sneak us into the playoffs anyway.
Remember hoping to try my hand at a few GDTs and it quickly becoming a time-consuming passion. Remember getting traded the Oiler board for picks and posters.
Remember us slowly start to turn the corner last year. Remember the boys umm, announcing to the Pens and the rest of the NHL that we wouldn't be pushovers anymore. Remember hoping it's for real this time.
And haven't even gotten the boatload of money this team and sport cost me and my parents over the years. Been playing since I was seven and even as I sit here for the past three months on my couch recovering from god-awful ankle injury, the only question i have for the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow during my follow-up visit -- can I lace them up again yet??
Yeah, for better or worse, I think it's safe to say I'm stuck with this sport and this team for life.
Last edited by Law: 07-08-2011 at 02:44 AM.
Reason: Few added thoughts
Great thread....Most people find it confusing as to why I am an Islander fan. I live in central NJ and grew up watching the terrible islanders of the mid-late 90s. How could anyone possibly be drawn to rooting for a team like that, especially when your friends and family are all Rangers and Devils fans? The answer is quite simple... Mariusz Czerkawski. His last name and my last name are only a few letters apart and are pronounced, when americanized, basically the same. Upon further research I discovered both of our families came from the same area in Poland. I thought maybe we might have been distantly related. I wrote to him a few times and he was very nice. Never found out if we were related but I doubt it.
I remember being sad when he was traded to montreal(the player we got in return...Aarron Asham.. ironically would go on to also become one of my favorites). I remember saying to myself...maybe Mariusz will play bad on purpose so Montreal would release him and we could sign him again. Well that kinda happend . I was watching ESPN at 2am in a hotel in Baltimore and when I saw on the ticker on the bottom of the screen that we had signed him again I yelled out of excitement and woke the person up in the room next door. I remember the great line of Czerkawski-Yashin-Kvasha...3 players that were streaky as hell but when put together were great.
Being a younger islander fan I really don't have a ton of great memories but some include...
-My first game versus Florida. Parish scored and early goal and we fell apart and lost 4 to 1.
-Meeting Zdeno Chara
-The Dipietro draft
-The monster trades that brought hope to the franchise.
-The 9-1-1 start.
-The rags game with the massive line brawls and Blake being choked by Messier.
-My biggest memory by far...The Bates penalty shot game and the whole series in general
-Islanders getting beat by Ottawa in the playoffs and one of the games being delayed during the series for like an Avril Lavigne concert.
-Dubbi standing up huge and getting us into the playoffs.
-Tavares draft party
It was 1975 and I was 11. Living in Edmonton most people were Leaf or Habs fans. Being the same as everyone else is boring. I was already known as a hockey expert at 11 and I remember my 15 year old cousin drilling me on my picks for the '75 playoffs. It was the second round and he was going through the matchups. In 1975 Edmonton, we had 3 TV stations and the only games we ever saw were Montreal and Toronto. Sometimes they played a Vancouver game, but nobody cared about them. So I never saw an Islander game. We got to the NYI-Pitts series and I said, "I don't know much about these two." I will never forget my cousins' response, "Well don't pick the Islanders, that's New York." I thought to myself, what's wrong with New York? His words kept repeating through my mind and I paid particular interest to that NYI series. Well as you all should know, the Islanders fell behind 3-0 in that series. Then they won game 4 and then game 5 and then game 6, of course CBC did not show game 7, but I couldn't wait to find out what happened. I screamed out loud when I found out that they pulled it off in Game 7. Now it seems that it happens all the time but back then, it was the first time in happened in 31 years or something. Then the Islanders played those horrible Flyers. I hated them. Again the Islanders fell behind 3-0. But once again they won game 4 and 5 and 6. Each game night holding my radio, switching from station to station trying to get the score from somewhere. And then the unthinkable...CBC was going to show Game 7 on TV! Of course up to now we were only to be shown stupid Montreal, brainwashing all of us, but they were eliminated and CBC said, "Oh well, I guess, we'll have to show some other teams now." I was so excited...I was going to see MY ISLANDERS (now they were mine) for the first time in my life...and my Dad was watching with me and the Flyers were flying in the first minute of the game and I remember him saying, "This game is over, your Islanders don't have a chance." Well, it didn't matter that they lost, they were MY team and they will be until my dying breath. I was so proud that they were the only team to win a game against Montreal in the '76 playoffs. They also gave Montreal the toughest time in the '77 playoffs. Then came '78 and the Islanders were starting to be expected to win. I will never forget 1978, Game 7 against the Leafs at a church youth rally in a basement with 30 Leaf fans and me, the only one for the Islanders. And Lanny McDonald with that stupid facemask scoring that OT goal...and 30 people sticking it in my face. I met Lanny 10 years later, he walked into the Greyhound bus depot in Medicine Hat where I was working to ship a parcel. I asked him, "Do you remember that goal you scored against the Islanders in '78?" How could he forget? "Yeah", he said..."Well, you broke my heart." I found a couple of rare fellow Islander fans in '79, but when the Oilers came to the NHL, they jumped ship like the traitors that they were. Not me...I'm an Islander for life!
Last edited by bauerpower: 07-09-2011 at 02:50 AM.
Living in Calgary I get this question all the time. Except it's more like "why the hell would you cheer for the New York Islanders?".
You actually get this in New York as well. I'm not exactly sure why I started liking the Islanders - I think I just liked the logo more than the Rangers one. I was a big Mets fan at the time and I'm sure the similarity of the logo and colors had something to do with it. Also, I lived in Queens next door to an Isles season ticket holder. He gave me and my dad (not a hockey fan) tix to our first game so I'm sure that played a factor. I guess the ironic thing about being a fan is that I actually feel no connection to the Island itself. In fact I'm very much a "city" person. I even live in Manhattan now just a few stops away from the Garden. Yet, I still love the Isles dearly and can't imagine them playing anywhere else.
I used to casually follow the Canucks in my younger days but I was not a huge hockey fan, then Todd Bertuzzi sucker punched Steve Moore and all the Canucks fans where I live didn't seem to see anything wrong with it, so I decided I didn't want to cheer the Canucks anymore.
Anyway a few years ago I started playing the NHL video game with some friends of mine and when they would talk about hockey I would half jokingly say they need to watch out for the Islanders because I knew they were a near bottom team. So I would always choose the Islanders in the game and eventually I just started watching them play for real and became a fan.
One of my dad's good friends, Andé St-Laurent, played for the Islanders (amongst other teams) for a few years during the 70s, so when I was like maybe 5 years old, he gave me a frame with the Islanders logo inside and it kind of marked me.
I rooted for the Colorado Buffaloes in college football for a similar reason. It's amazing how one of your dad's friends giving you a CU sweatshirt in the early 80s can influence your life for decades.
Originally Posted by Pnut
My aunt was a Mets fan and had Sportschannel (so I remember loving her house in the later 80's 90's), I saw a game early in the 1985-1986 season
Mine is similar. I'm from Rochester, and became a Mets fan as a kid (we got Mets and Yankees on TV. The Yankees looked like they were wearing black and white; the Mets had vibrant blue and orange racing stripes on their uniforms, and their team -- Gooden, Strawberry, Mookie, Hernandez -- had personality).
I discovered hockey when the Rochester Americans were starting the 1987 playoffs. I listened to their games on the radio, including the first-round series clinching win over Hershey.
The next day, I was flipping channels and found an Islanders game. Same blue and orange color scheme as the Mets, same network as the Mets. So I started rooting for the Islanders in their game that night.
That Amerks game the night before? Took place on April 17, 1987.
So the first Islanders game I watched -- against the Capitals in the playoffs -- that took a while to end. Hooked ever since.
I am bumping this post because I want it to be a reminder of how and why we became fans in the first place. Also, judging by the amount of posts made on that Schremp thread...I feel that we REALLY need something else to do over the summer slow down.
For those that haven't added to this, please do. It's always nice to see the variety of ways people got introduced to the Isles.
When I was 4 my parents went to an Edmonton Oilers game (5 hours from our home) and brought back 2 items for my brother and I. Since we wouldnt know any better, our parents brought back two items on the sale rack: an Isles and Whalers jersey. I unfortunately got the isles jersey and have stuck with them ever since .
My bro quickly ditched the Whalers and bought into the Oilers hype like everyone else in our hometown
When I was younger my dad used to work at the Nassau Coliseum. Sometimes, the players would sometimes come by and viisit the workers. Well he used to bring me home some autographs, giveaways from that night. With so many islander pennants, coffee cups, and posters it was almost impossible to not like the team. Since my dad was not a big sports fan and I was come march he would always ask me how the team was doing, since playoffs ment extra days of work.
Also I will never forget the year Want bought the team, he sent many of the workers Christmas cards. The card was a team photo on the front and wishes from the team inside. It was not personally signed, but it's the only year; durning a 25 + year career there, that I remember him getting that and i thought it was pretty cool.
Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like had he worked at MSG...
Last edited by gordie43: 08-17-2012 at 10:07 PM.
Reason: iPhone typing issues