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New Crew Intro: John Tavares flicked the switch

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Why I’m a fan of this frustrating, stupid, wonderful, amazing team

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Three
This guy.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: This season we are adding some new writers to LHH, and we’ve asked them to do self-introductions and give us a taste of their fan backstory. (Yesterday, you may have met Steven E. Smith.) Today it’s Jenny’s (solace67) turn, and we’re pretty excited about what she’ll bring.

Hi everyone, my name is Jenny Berman and I’m excited to write here at Lighthouse Hockey. I wanted to introduce myself a little by sharing how I became a fan of the Isles and how that started my love of hockey and of sports in general.

I could easily lie and say that I’ve been an Islanders fan all my life, that I’ve been a diehard since my first game and that I knew from the start that I’d get emotional when I watched John Tavares score the overtime winner that put the Isles in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since before I was born. But I didn’t, and I won’t pretend that I did. However, John Tavares scoring clutch playoff goals is the reason I’m here today, it’s just one he scored a few years earlier.

I was born into a diehard Islanders family. We’ve had season tickets since the very beginning of the New York Islanders franchise, and would make our local commute to Nassau Coliseum with my dad and my grandma.

For the first 17 years of my life, however, I went to games out of obligation rather than genuine interest. I was that kid who brought a Game Boy to games when I was younger or just spent the whole time worrying about whether they could make the chocolate-vanilla swirl flavor at the Carvel stand. The on-ice product from 1996-2013 for the most part matched that ambivalence, and I probably only really missed Shawn Bates’ penalty shot in 2002 as a real highlight moment.

That all changed, of course, when I went to Game 3 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013. I didn’t really fully understand what was going on in the game, just that we were losing until a certain number 91 scored a huge goal.

I had been at the Coliseum for regular season games, but I had never seen anything like the way the crowd reacted to that goal. Everyone was standing and screaming and cheering, and the “MVP!” chants afterward were practically chill-inducing. It was like a switch had flicked on, and the hockey fan my dad had been trying to cultivate for years was finally born. From then on, I was hooked.

I went online and learned everything I could about the game, about the Islanders, and about the other teams. I was a super fan, willing to ride out the lows of the 2013-14 season because I got to go to many of the games while I was still in high school. I felt the magic of the last season at NVMC in 2014-15 while at school in North Carolina, and really thought that that team could win it all.

I found Lighthouse Hockey really during that season, and I liked the insightful writing and passionate community. I’m pretty excited that I’ll be able to contribute to that in a way that’s more than just sometimes angry, sometimes happy comments in game threads or in the Bits.

I’m 20 years old now and a junior in college. I major in Sport and Event Management and I can really thank the Islanders for getting me interested in hockey and in sports in general, because I love what I’m studying. I do a lot of TV work on campus and produce a sports debate show webcast.

I’m also a big soccer fan, especially of Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League (Ed. note: The vetting process has failed Arsenal fan Dominik. Those responsible have been sacked.), so I’m always up to chat about hockey and soccer and pretty much anything on Twitter, where you can follow me @thirdliners. I’m kind of redoing that account right now so I deleted pretty much all my tweets, but I used to be way more active on it in the past and plan on being active on it throughout the season. I’m looking forward to writing here and being an active part of the LHH community!