So when did you realize you were a Rangers fan?
First of all, sup Boneheads, both silent and vocal. We all want to see the team do well, and hopefully win, at least for me, another Cup in our lifetimes. How the team moves from where we’re at now to where we want to be is a topic worthy of serious debate. Some want us to go all in with youth. Some want us to “release the Kovalchuken!!!!!” into a Rangers jersey on MSG. Most want something in the middle. Me? I’m just glad Sather didn’t go trying to sign everything in sight. We filled obvious holes in FA with Biron + BOOgaard. How much we paid them can be debated till opening night, but they were holes worthy of being filled.
But today’s post isn’t about that. It’s about when you first realized you were a Rangers fan. I grew up as a black guy from Flatbush. Hockey wasn’t exactly the thing to watch in the fall, to be honest. That was Knicks season. Time to beat Jordan season. Time to destroy Reggie Miller season. That was my thing back then. Both my cousin and I had a Sega Genesis, and one day I borrowed his NHL ’94. I wanted to try something different. I remember playing the the New York Rangers against the Penguins, and #11 getting into a fight with someone from the Penguins. After that, I was hooked! I slowly began learning about hockey, then realized that I could simply watch the game on TV instead of reading about it. I learned about Messier, Graves, Beukeboom, Tikkanen, Kovalev (my personal favorite) and other fan favorites. I started casually watching games during the regular season. But then the playoffs started.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about who we played in the first and second rounds. But I remember playing the Devils in the conference finals. I remember Messier with “The Guarantee”, then going out and making good on his promise. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he made that guarantee . He could’ve said that he was re-creating MSG from scratch with popsicle sticks in one night, and I would’ve believed him after his performance that night. Side note: I did not realize until making this post that Ed Olczyk was on that team. Now back to our regular story. I remember the announcer screaming “Matteau, Matteau!!!!” when we finally beat Brodeur and were making our way to the Finals.
If I was a casual fan up to the conference finals, I became a full fledged FANATIC when the Finals arrived. I refused to miss a game. I can still see Richter in my head stretching his right leg with everything he had to stop Bure on the penalty shot in Game 4. I watch that clip now and still feel a tingle up my spine. Side note: Its funny how Leetch, headed back to his blue line, basically just gave the puck away to Bure to start that sequence. Really hope Del Zotto doesn’t learn THAT from him.
I taped Game 7 of the series, and still watch it from time to time. I remember the feeling that came over me when the final horn sounded and everyone literally went crazy. That’s when I knew I was a fan and I’d be forever hooked on hockey. I’ve stayed a loyal fan, even when I moved away. So glad my cousin bought/rented/“acquired” that game.
So that’s my Rangers fan story. What’s your “I knew I was a Rangers fan when….” story?