This past Sunday marked the final regular season game of the NHL season. I’m sad to see it go but I’m exhilarated to see the Bruins in the playoffs as well as to see the Oilers get the first overall draft pick.
That same Sunday I made the trip to New Jersey to see the Bruins tuck their season away in a match up against the New Jersey Devils. They lost 3-2 but it has to be one of my favorite game experiences of the entire season….and I’ve been to over 20 games. Tuukka made a real intense save, Peverley scored and there is always the cheering for the enemy aspect. And being able to joke about the Devils not being in the playoffs and making golf swing motions was great too.
The best part?
We turned the corner from where we had parked in the parking garage and suddenly we saw a sea of blue. Huh? The Devils wear red…For a second I wasn’t sure if these were Devils fans that had some weird thing going. But every single jersey was a Nordiques jersey. The defunct team the Quebec Nordiques still have some of the most passionate fans, probably better than most NHL fans.
Just in the plaza of the Prudential Center you’d think you were going to a Nordiques game. I’d heard about this happening before when Nordiques fans go to other games in masses in order to prove that they still exist. They sure can fill the arena better than the home teams fans.
Whether they spoke French or English, these people were extremely interesting. One of the people I went with was wearing a Thomas jersey and if you can recall, Thomas was drafted by the Nordiques. He never played for them because the team was sold before he could. He never even got a jersey from the draft. The fans in blue were so excited to tell us how much they love Tim Thomas and that they are rooting for the Bruins in the playoffs.
Inside the game it was a blast and the Nordiques fans made the environment outstanding. We met up with a Devils fan who attends game on the regular who told us that the arena was never as loud as it was on that particular Sunday afternoon.
That is no surprise. The Nordiques fans filled the corners of the balcony on both ends and were scattered through out otherwise. At the 16 minute mark of each period they let out a huge roar that electrified the whole building.
They had many French chants during the game as well as “Nordiques Nation” going strong. Security did not know how to control the mass of fans who had come as the group of that same name. The Nation came down a day prior stopping in NYC with a message in Times Square to the NHL about their team. Buses could be seen all around Newark from Quebec that they had taken to the game. This group is serious.
Later in the game balloons were bopped around in the crowd before security managed to stop that. In the final three minutes of the game the aisles in the lower bowl were suddenly flooded with Nordiques fans who stormed down the stairs. They were screaming and cheering while chanting “Nordiques Nation!” I couldn’t help but join in. I loved the passion. These people were genius.
Being a part of such an event was the coolest. It made the long drive totally worth it. I hope Quebec gets another team. The fans are there for sure, and hey, maybe even this will come true: