The New York Rangers are a rebuilding team. Their fanbase will be as strong as ever as the loyalty of Rangertown is second to none.
The New York Rangers fans are as loyal as they come. They will boo when the power play fails, show their frustration when the King gives up an “easy goal,” but should you talk bad about them on the number 1 train on the way home after the game … watch out, the typical Rangers fan will rip your head off.
It’s easy to be a happy, cheering fan when your team wins. Look at the New York Yankees.
All of those championships and pennants, it’s easy for them to root for their team. Yes, they have missed the playoffs and struggled somewhat, but you know what they say, “you can’t win every year.”
A Rangers fan expression each year is a little different. My dad says the same line at the end of every season with the exception of one season occurring 24 years ago.
“Wait ’till next year!”
The Ranger fan is one that suffers more than it celebrates. Since 1940, the organization has won just one Stanley Cup. That’s one Championship over the last 78 years. It was 54 years between championships from 1940 till 1994. Now the Blueshirts have gone 24 years without winning a cup.
You would never know it if you went to a home game at Madison Square Garden. Sellouts almost every game, passion with every pass, sounds of discouragement as the opposition scores and the elation of cheering when one of our own scores a goal or lands a huge hit.
The Rangers fan may be the smartest fan in the league. They understand what’s going on as they watch a play develop. It’s really amazing.
Sit in the (old) blue seats of MSG. Not many left due to the renovation that was completed a few years ago, and the fans don’t just boo or scream how lousy the team is playing. Fans give explanations why they aren’t happy with the team.
“There is no one in front on the power play, the defense is running around, Lundqvist should have stopped that one,” are just some of the comments you will hear. They are the hardest on their team because they want the team to succeed badly. Attending a game is an experience within the game experience.
The Garden has changed over the years. The majority of blue seats has been replaced with lounges, ticket prices are through the roof. Concession stands who once served hot dogs, beers and pretzels now have transpired into Pastrami stations, beer gardens, and sushi bars.
Yet the Ranger fan still shows up.
This team has gone stretches of missing the playoffs, upset teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final, and suffered some heartbreaking losses all on their home ice. Every time, the fans have been by their side. Good or bad, the fans always have the team’s back.
The fans are unique in that they come to games regardless of the teams record or place in the standings. They are not the fans base that stays home when the team is playing badly, they don’t come to the games planning to yell at the players every time they touch the puck. They come to help the team play better as if they are truly a teammate. They will taunt a player all game if they think it will help out the boys. Ask former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur how relentless they fans can be. Better yet, try and ask former New York Islander Dennis Potvin how much the Rangers fans can aggravate a player.
Fans don’t come to games to just to say they were at the game or to see what celebrity is sitting in the front row behind the bench. This isn’t Los Angeles where the person off the ice is more important than the player on the ice. This is the New York Rangers fan base, they care about goals, saves and wins. They will go home aggravated all night if the team losses a game. Followig a win the fan base will stay and watch to see who the three stars of the game are, break down the pros and cons of the contest. They go home and watch the game again when its replayed on MSG Network. It’s not just a hockey game, it is a life style that continues over and over from October all the way to May, if things go really well.
The Rangers find themselves in an unusual position as they get ready for the start of the season. A team who normally has playoff inspirations now hopes to play .500 hockey, the season will be a rough one with plenty of mistakes along the way. Their fans will be screaming their hearts out letting each player know what they did wrong or right.
The expression “we bleed blue,” is an expression every fan has said at one time or another. It’s a true representation of what the real fan has endured over the years.
Madison Square Garden is more than just the home arena for the Rangers. It’s bragging rights that no other fan gets to have. When public address announcer Joe Tolleson kicks off every game night with “Welcome to Madison Square Garden …” the pride that goes along with that statement is felt within every fan. Some even recite the opening along with Tolleson.
We all believe that we can win every game. Think about it, in the third period with the team down by two goals, how many of us believe, no matter how bad the night has gone, the team can come back. Look at all the fans that stay until the final horn goes off.
The pride of fans goes beyond the game too. Who has been at a game when John Amirante sang the National Anthem or when Detective Steven McDonald announced the extra effort award winner, the award every single player wants to win, the fans cheer until their voices are can no longer scream.
Show up for a jersey number retirement ceremony. The players can feel the fans excitement. Watching it on television and you feel the same as if in the arena.
The famous “Let’s Go Rangers” chant will always be heard whether the team is flying high or struggling to pick themselves up off the ice. The fans will always be Rangerstown and the team will always relate to how lucky they are to have them cheering the team on.
If you can whistle really loud, a fan might be able to get the best chant of them all going. One our cross-town rivals can’t stand for.
Proud to be a New York Rangers fan? Join the club. Many are.