The New York Hockey Rivalry on Campus

By Thomas Reilly

A sports rivalry is often generated mostly by the fans of the respective teams. In some instances, the two opponents have a personal hatred for one another, like the Yankees and Red Sox in the early 2000s, but for the most part, the real hatred between two franchises lies within the fans that support them. The Rangers-Islanders rivalry is a perfect example of that. Two division rival opponents who may or may not personally like one another but have mutual respect for each other. However the two fan bases, there is little to no love there.

“I have friends that like the Rangers and on days where they play each other, we don’t get along,” said Billy, a lifelong Islanders fan and student at Suffolk. “All I know is that we have won both games this season so far and that’s all I need to say.”

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Reilly

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Reilly


The Islanders have had the advantage so far this season, winning both games in Brooklyn, one in a shootout, and one in regulation.

In hockey, more so than any other sport, the argument between two fans generally follows the same formula, debate over which current team is better, who will go further into the playoffs and what not. Then when that gets them nowhere they bring up the history of the other team. For example Ranger fans would say, “The Islanders have not won a playoff series since 1993.” Then an Islander fan would respond by saying “The Rags have only one cup since 1940.” That usually is how these arguments go between fans.

When asked about arguing with Islander fans, Matt said “It’s all in good fun. Both teams are solid and the arguing is what makes sports more fun and interesting. Sometimes fans take it too far and get personal, and those are the fans that really make it a heated rivalry.”

There was a significant change this season for one of the New York teams. The Islanders changed locations going from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They kept their trademark name and uniform, however the change in venue has irked some fans. “I hate the move. The Coliseum was home to the Islanders and the atmosphere was great. I’ll never forget the playoffs last year against the Caps,” said Billy.

As it currently stands in the NHL playoff standings, the Rangers would host the Islanders in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their first playoff meeting since 1994 in which the Rangers swept the Islanders 4-0. “This campus would certainly be full of hockey jerseys,” said Jimmy, a Rangers fan and student at Suffolk. “Maybe a fight or two would break out over arguments, which would be funny.”

“Some of my classmates I see wear Islander sweatshirts and jerseys after games and a playoff series would make things pretty intense in the classroom,” said Matt in regards to a possible playoff matchup between the two teams in April.

Suffolk Community College is full of hockey fans and a playoff series could spark some bad blood (hopefully not personal bad blood) between students.

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