In a scene reminiscent of last year’s return from the Edmonton bubble, the New York Islanders were given a hero’s welcome back from Tampa Bay after they were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 7 of the semifinals.
Islanders fans lined up just outside the fence of Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, and greeted the team with cheers and let’s go Islanders chants as they disembarked from the team plane. The Islanders had received a similarly jovial welcome last year upon returning from their Game 6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.
— Jerry Beach (@JerryBeach73) June 26, 2021
Players waved as they disembarked the team charter and as they drove off in their vehicles to head home.
The scene reinforced the connection that the New York Islanders and their fanbase had built over the course of their run to the semifinals and the fact they had captivated the imaginations of sports fans across the area. The Islanders had graced the back pages of all three New York daily newspapers in the days leading up to Friday’s 1-0 Game 7 loss in Tampa.
The coaches and players had also noted the number of people that had come up to them to thank them for the memories that the team had created and revived in their final run at Nassau Coliseum.
The impromptu gathering of fans generated from a post on social media.
Their return to the Stanley Cup Semifinals was their second consecutive trip and Game 7 marked the first time the Islanders had been one win away from the Cup Final since 1984. The Islanders’ loss also meant the end of the team’s run at the Nassau Coliseum.
The New York Islanders will move into the new UBS Arena when it is completed this fall for the 2021-22 NHL season. The team has already announced they’ve sold out of season tickets for their inaugural season there.
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