The New York Islanders just went on the longest playoff run the franchise has seen in 30 years, and they did it while isolated in a Canadian bubble (or two) six months after a pandemic cut the 2019-20 regular season short and cut off that singular electric feeling of fans cheering on their team in person.
So what’s an Islanders fan to do? Greet the entire contingent at the airport.
To thank them. To let them know how much they appreciate their playoff run. And to see some (masked) faces they haven’t cheered in person well too long.
Trolls — fans of teams that flamed out or didn’t even make the bubble playoffs — will insert their mocking here, but this fanbase has a lot to thank these players for, and they just went through 3+ rounds of playoffs without getting to channel that energy that’s only captured in arenas or rallies.
The Islanders’ last true home game was March 7 at the Coliseum, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes. Crazy to think that was six months ago. Crazy to think of all the pulsating playoff moments from the past month that would’ve electrified the Coliseum, but instead took place in the empty and artisanally tarped arenas in Toronto and Edmonton.
Here are some clips of the team’s arrival from Twitter. There’s plenty more from these accounts and others. Welcome home and well done, Islanders. Let’s go do that again next time.
https://t.co/WtPVb23I3e pic.twitter.com/3TPjtgsb6m— NYI Fans For Life (Trotz edition) (@NYIFansForLife) September 18, 2020
Welcome home @NYIslanders #Isles pic.twitter.com/zgEOWh5v4X— Josh Elkin (@JoshElkin) September 18, 2020
Best fans in hockey #isles pic.twitter.com/gcEYR7HcWD— Tom LoFaso (@tomlofaso329) September 18, 2020
#Isles continuing to pile onto a waiting bus near the plane. Team going through customs. Every player given a rousing applause as they step into the bus. pic.twitter.com/bi864lIzKz— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) September 18, 2020
Sports, it can be pretty cool sometimes, no?