Islanders fans have been chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" after goals for a few years now, with the practice making the trip from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center. The chant was started by WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan, who was a fan favorite throughout his long, winding trip to the top of the mountain, and it's been picked up by a few fanbases.
Until tonight, Bryan, who’s currently retired and acts as general manager of WWE’s Smackdown show, had only heard about his signature call taking over Islanders games, but had yet to attend one. In fact, he had never been to any hockey game before at all.
Seems the wait was worth it.
Not only did the Islanders win the game in overtime on Josh Bailey’s spectacular individual effort, but Bryan was basically the guest of honor despite it being the team’s home opener and with half a dozen Islanders legends in the house, including now former play-by-play announcer Howie Rose.
The Islanders announced Bryan’s presence a few hours before the game to considerable social media buzz, and he spent the first intermission talking to Shannon Hogan on MSG Network in his own personalized jersey.
Bryan also got to ride the zamboni, lead the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant himself and, oh god, fire a t-shirt gun.
They gave @WWEDanielBryan a tshirt gun pic.twitter.com/UdFJgcQqc3— Kevin Schultz (@Schultz88) October 16, 2016
Shoutout to @WWEDanielBryan for coming to tonight's game and leading our #YESYESYES chants! pic.twitter.com/TeURp83vJ2— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 17, 2016
I haven’t been a dedicated wresting fan for a long time, but I know a large part Bryan’s appeal has been his genuine good nature and down-to-earth personality. In other words, he seems like a real good dude who also happens to be a World Wrestling champion.
Seeing him smiling and yelling during the game in his Islanders gear was infectious. Here’s hoping we see him around Barclays Center more this season and in the future.
Awesome time watching @NYIslanders at the @barclayscenter! Rode a zamboni and got the ice to myself after! pic.twitter.com/02GNie9nBA— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) October 17, 2016