Editor's Note: As we bring some new contributing writers to the fold at Lighthouse Hockey, we asked each to introduce themselves to the readership with something that tells a little about their back story as Islanders fans. We start with Steve Smith, who some may already know from Fanposts and the comment section.
Hello, fellow Islanders fans, LHHers, and long-time sufferers. My name is Steve Smith (not that football player - or the other one - nor the former NHLer that scored on his own goalie, nor the drummer from one of the worst bands ever formed). I am simply a 21-year-old student born and raised on Long Island, and currently enrolled as a senior at Fordham University in the Bronx, where I study psychology and business. You may know me as sayvillelax94 on LHH. I have been a member LHH for over five years - in some ways, I’ve grown up with this blog.
A little background on my fandom: I was born in December 1994, in the heart of Gary Bettman Lockout I and fresh off a season that saw our hated crosstown rivals
hoist their first Cup in 54 years [ed. note: First mistake, Steve. We don't talk about that [REDACTED] incident].
At the same time, the Islanders were well on their way to being financially constrained and horribly mismanaged into irrelevance for the rest of the decade and into the next. It wasn’t a great time to be a hockey fan, and an even worse time to be an Islanders fan. My father and grandfather remained steadfast fans regardless, and passed their passion onto me from the time I entered the world.
Pointless. SAD. Fart Noise.
Unfortunately, however, my passion was seldom rewarded - my dad had a 10-game package most years before 2001-02. In the 10-15 games to which I went at the Coliseum before that season, most were losses. Among the many losses I witnessed was when Theo Fleury beat the "Beezer" to give the Rangers the 4-3 win on the night before Thanksgiving earlier the same season - this prompted 5 year-old me to have a tantrum about never seeing the Islanders win.
Luckily, the very next game that I went to was a 3-2 victory against the Maple Leafs on my 6th birthday. The rest of the 2000-01 season was much like the previous 6 seasons (pointless and sad) but I had finally seen the team win a damn game. Perhaps this first win was the sign of many more to come.
Fast forward 15 years, and *fart noise* but we finally (FINALLY) won a friggin’ playoff series. This is something I had never seen before, so I feel a little less cursed. Still, throughout my life, I’ve realized I watch the Isles not just in hopes of watching success, but to continue to bond with my father and now my little brother.
The Islanders of the 2000s had very few highs, but my family was there to enjoy them with me. My father purchased season tickets starting in 2001-02 (the Yashin/Peca season) and held them until they left the Coliseum (Sayville is too far from Brooklyn for season tickets). And while we didn’t see too many wins, the ones we did see, were absolutely fantastic, and have become moments we still look back fondly on. And our fandom was finally met with some measure of success, when John Tavares put on one of the best single-game performances I’ve ever seen and pushed our team past the Panthers.
I hope the Islanders continue to give myself, my family, and all of us more happy memories in the future...oh and a Cup or two would be nice, as well.