A Quebec-based group called "Nordiques Nation" will mobilize approximately 1,100 fans to attend tomorrow's game against the Thrashers at Nassau Coliseum in an attempt to show their desire for a team.
The group, led by Quebec radio host Vincent Cauchon, will depart Quebec tonight in a 22-bus fleet and gather tomorrow several hours before the game between the two struggling franchises.
'We're going to Nassau Coliseum because we want to tell the NHL that we have a fan base here and we want a hockey club," Nordiques Nation member Sebastien Julien told Newsday Friday.
The Canadian contingent will split up into two sections, one behind each net, and will take up approximately 25-30 rows.
"We wanted to go to Nassau Coliseum because they have a lot of empty seats," the 27-year-old Julien explained.
Dogged by constant relocation hopes and rumors, the Islanders are struggling mightily with the league's-worst record (5-16-5) and absolutely abysmal attendance (not a single sellout this season and last-week's low of 7,773 --the worst showing for the Islanders since the 2004-05 lockout).
But Nordiques Nation is not specifically targeting the Islanders, Julien said. In fact, the members of Nordiques Nation "want the Islanders to stay in New York," where they established a winning tradition with the Stanley Cup dynasty years of 1980-83. The Quebec would rather be considered an alternative to markets in which teams have little history or ties to the hockey community.
"We don't really care about the team, we just know there are some markets that won't work. Quebec has a better market than one-third of them--Atlanta, Florida, Phoenix--we are a winter with lots of snow right now and it would be nice to have a hockey club."
Sign up for Newsday’s Islanders texts with a 14-day free trial at newsday.com/islestext.