The Islanders produced an unforgettable night on Wednesday by clinching a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals at Nassau Coliseum, but the magic began before the game during the National Anthem.
Actually, it began back in game four.
Nicole Raviv has been singing the National Anthem for Islanders home games since 2019, and joined Carton & Roberts on Thursday to talk about what went in to the memorable scene that unfolded during game six, when the Coliseum crowd sang along in unison with Raviv. The roots of that moment stretch back to the previous home game and a faulty microphone.
“We had a little bit of technical difficulties and my mic just wasn’t working at first,” Raviv said of game four. “I just kept going. I knew the Islanders would have my back. I knew they’d been singing at every game and I knew that they would keep singing. So there I am and they’re singing along, and as soon as my sound comes back on, they’re singing louder than usual. It was unreal. To continue that tradition, we wanted to start game six that way have the fans sing along for the game and drive the Anthem and build momentum, and they sure did.”
That’s exactly what happened prior to the start of game six, setting the stage for one of the most memorable nights at the Coliseum since the Islanders dynasty in the 1980s.
“Honestly, it was something I’ve been dreaming about for awhile,” Raviv said. “After COVID and not having crowds, it was beyond my wildest dreams. It was surreal. If you were there, you would feel the energy and how electric the Coliseum was.”
Which begs the question: has Raviv and the Islander fanbase sparked a new tradition on Long Island?
“I would hope so,” Raviv said. “It’s all about the team, so I’d love to continue it that way…we’ll see. It’s kind of an in-the-moment thing. We got to feel the energy.”
After last year’s playoffs, which included an Islanders trip to the conference finals, had no fans in attendance due to COVID-19, Raviv has noticed a massive uptick in energy and participation when the National Anthem is performed, which has made her experience all the more enjoyable. It seemed like more than 12 thousand others enjoyed it just as much on Wednesday night.
“The Islanders especially are a special fanbase,” Raviv said. “They’re very passionate. They bring the energy and get loud in there. that’s the biggest crowd I’ve had post pandemic. People are so excited to be together and it’s such a unifying moment. It’s about everyone now.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1