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The Islanders and Rangers begin their 2019–20 regular seasons in early October. Hockey games in New York City are fun not only because of the action on the ice, but also thanks to passionate fan bases that loudly support their teams and proudly pass along chants and other traditions from generation to generation. If you’d like to see for yourself, read on for tips.
New York Rangers (tickets)
New York Islanders (tickets)
Madison Square Garden
Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum
1928, 1933, 1940, 1994
1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
Mark Messier, the Blueshirts’ captain in 1994 when they won their first title in 54 years
Goalie Billy Smith, who played with the team from 1972 through 1989, including every one of their championships
Sample moment of agony
A strong 2014 season ends with a crushing double-overtime loss against the Kings in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The team trades in its classic logo for something resembling a certain TV-dinner mascot for a few strange years in the 1990s.
Sample moment of triumph
It all comes back to 1994, when the Rangers’ game 7 win set off one of the most delirious celebrations in New York sports history.
Bob Nystrom’s overtime goal in game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final brings the Isles the first of four consecutive titles.
How do they feel about the other NYC team?
There’s a lot of animosity there.
The Rangers’ home, Madison Square Garden, is right on top of Penn Station. The 1, 2, 3, A, C and E subway lines all stop at 34th Street–Penn Station, while the B, D, F, M, N, Q, R and W all stop nearby at 34th Street–Herald Square. Commuters from the suburbs can take the Long Island Railroad or New Jersey Transit to Penn Station.
Barclays Center, where the Islanders play their Brooklyn home games, is located at Atlantic Terminal—the borough's most active transit hub. The 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, R and Q subway trains all stop there, as does the Long Island Rail Road—which ferries in many of the team’s old-school fans from political Long Island (Brooklyn, as you may know, is geographically located on Long Island). Before you go, make sure the game you've chosen is in Brooklyn and not Nassau County!
Like virtually all large stadiums and arenas, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center have long lists of rules—many pertaining to security. For details on what types of bags and items you may and may not bring into the venues, visit thegarden.com and barclayscenter.com. Doing this research beforehand will likely make for a smoother game-day experience.
And have fun.