It’s possible that Islanders fans are all not from Long Island. Not individuals who moved from the area and not family members of former Long Island residents.
I never thought this was possible, but then I met an Islanders fan named Chris when I was on business in Seattle last week.
On a tour of Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, a gentleman saw my Sachem Football Long Island champions hat and immediately came over and asked if I was from the island and if I supported the New York Islanders.
We stayed talking for another five hours through the stadium tour and through a Seahawks pre-season game next door at CenturyLink field.
Chris is originally from Nova Scotia and most hockey fans from the east coast of Canada gravitate towards the Canadiens. Not Chris. He witnessed the Canadiens beat the Islanders two straight years in the semifinals in 1975-76 and 1976-77 and grew closer to the boys from Nassau than his country’s proudest franchise. He’s unique, no question.
The Islanders, who jumped onto the NHL scene in 1972, were an instant success. They made it to the semifinals of the playoffs four out of five seasons from 1974-1979 and eventually won four out of five Stanley Cup Finals from 1979-1984.
It was a very impressionable and exciting time to be an Islanders fan and Chris bought in.
Chris, who was on a road trip of the northwestern states in America, lives in Alberta now.
He has never taken a trip to Long Island or visited a home game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. That will change this year.
With the franchise moving to Brooklyn after this season, Chris vowed to make a trip to the hallowed ground on Hempstead Turnpike and visit the building where Islanders greats made the franchise one of the most successful in hockey history.
He stays up to date on the franchise with the Internet and digital media and occasionally catches them on road games in Canada.
Nothing, however, will be as special as seeing his favorite team in their friendly confines in the final year of its existence. Stay tuned for another blog about his reaction to the Coliseum after he visits this season.