“I think they sell a narrative over there that’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders.” — Bruce Cassidy, Bruins Head Coach.
“Oh, when the Saints go marching in. Oh, when the Saints go marching in.” That was the chant of the last 48-hours.
Who ever would have thought that the 1938 hit song, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” would one day become a rallying cry for a hockey team and its fan base. You have to give Islanders fans credit, they’re a creative bunch. From the blue and orange hair, to the tents, beer, body paint and songs, this is a fan base that knows how to have fun; especially when its beloved team is unduly criticized by a hated opponent.
I bet most of you didn’t even know there used to be a NLL (National Lacrosse League) team that called itself the New York Saints and played its home games at Nassau Coliseum. It’s okay, nobody would blame you for your lack of knowledge as the team has been defunct for over a decade.
I bet Bruce Cassidy didn’t know. And if he did, he really should have chosen his words better as it gave the Islanders Faithful something to latch on to.
For a fan base that is so dedicated to its team that it begins tailgating at 10am for a 7:30pm game, this quip from Cassidy was the perfect excuse to get even wackier.
Ahead of Game Six, there were fans dressed as actual Saints. Others, still, dressed as angels with wings and halos. None of it is surprising. But it is down right entertaining.
That entertainment extends itself to impromptu bands performing in the parking lot and to a whole host of other activities. And in case you wonder how they have any energy left by the time the game starts, don’t worry for a second.
These parking lot tailgates at Nassau Coliseum are the stuff of legend. Rather than a lack of energy, the fans become even more energized as they leave the parking lots to enter the building. And in a year that has served as a final farewell for The Old Barn, it’s nice to see that the creativity of the heavenly fan base is at an all-time high.