What Makes you Loyal to your Team of Choice?

We’ve reached the dog days of summer where news like Patrick Lalime/Chris Osgood retiring is the biggest hockey news out there to chew on – so I thought maybe it’d be a good time for us to all get to know a little more about one another and why we love the teams that we love – and it’s not because “they’re awesome” – that’s the casual fans response.

For me it’s a lot of reasons – I stated out my life as Buffalo Sabres fan, I loved the French Connection and like a lot of kids in my age group growing up despised the Flyers for their antics and couldn’t find it in me to cheer for my brothers team – the Canadiens who I still say he liked because they won all those cups it all changed in the 77-78 Season – the year Mike Bossy came into the league (which probably begins to expose my age to you guys lol)
The Islanders already had a pretty good corps of players coming up – they had a great leader on D named Denis Potvin who was on his way to setting a record for Defenders, A slick center by the name of Bryan Trottier, a couple of good goaltenders named Resch and Smith, but there was something about that Bossy kid that just stuck with me…and from that day on these points kept me loyal to the team I got to spend some of the highest of high points (a Stanley Cup Dynasty) to the lowest of lows (Ownership Issue, Mad Mike era, Fish stick jerseys) but through it all my heart bled Blue and Orange.
The following keep me loyal whether it be from the past or the future
1. Al Arbor and Bill Torrey – When it comes right down to it, the team that he and Torrey created was exactly what a kid wants to root for. They could beat you any way possible. They could outskate you, fire pucks at you unmercifully, crush you with body checks, and when you got frustrated and called them out they’d beat the living shit out of you. Sure the players have a lot to do with that, but making 21 players into a team is a talent. making 21 guys into a team that can do what I just described… that is pure unadultarated GENIUS
2. Battling Billy Smith – Nothing beat Billy in the playoffs – if you skated near his crease your calves knew it, he’d never shy away from a physical battle – one of my greatest hockey memories is still seeing Billy take on Dave Semenko after Semenko did one of his patented cheap shots when the ref wasn’t looking – Smith didn’t win but he certainly didn’t lose!
3. Clark Gillies. If I had a son I’d want him to be the Clark Gillies of whatever he chose to do…
4. Easter Weekend 1987 – God Bless you Pat Lafontaine.
5.92-93 Run – Dave Volek is still a folk hero, and for the Leafs fans who always talk about the highstick on Gilmour – don’t forget the Isles were only one Turgeon away from REALLY competing for a chance to go to the finals.
6. Heals and Flats – where else can two “mediocre” hockey guys have a TV show?
7. Hope – the future is looking better than it has in 20 seasons on the Island and it just keeps getting brighter and brighter
8. The 2001 season I remember when Milbury made the deal to bring Yashin to the Isle and then a few days later he brought in Peca – It was a tease but it was something that as a fan I had been waiting for – Ted Nolan and Chris Osgood bring respect back to the Nassau.
9. The forgotten dynasty – The Isles won their cups smack dab in between what were to be considered some of the best dynasties in hockey wit the Habs and the Oilers and never get enough credit for it.
Last and not least – the John Tavares draft party – it was nice to see that after basically 20 years of disappointment that there were still a lot of ISlanders fans out there who have been staying away but are slowly coming back – the Colliseum is one of the best buildings in hockey when the crowd is in it .
So if I have to apologize I will but as a guy who’s sat through John Spano, the Picketts breaking our hearts, Wang going crazy. Milbury making some of the most assinine moves in the history of the game somehow, some way I maintain the memories of the past and the hope of the future.
GO Isles Go!