Each NHL game gets two referees and two linesmen. On Thursday night in Brooklyn, over 100 were in attendance for the Islanders game against the Avalanche.
The referee rally – held in section 117 – was loud and boisterous, with their cheers and chants often overpowering those of the hometown fans. Rather than celebrating goals, these fans cheered every time the whistle blew. Their greatest celebrations came with a penalty call.
In addition to their chants – “R-E-F-S, Refs, Refs, Refs!” among them – the officials’ supporters came armed with signs with slogans like, “Don’t hate the refs, hate the rules,” and “Zebras are people too.”
One official in attendance called their presence ‘polarizing,’ as not all the fans in attendance are as appreciative of the officials. A couple was escorted out of the arena after tossing a beer at the zebras.
Chris and Matt, two of the organizers, spoke on the MSG broadcast.
“We’re incredible fans of hockey,” they said. “All referees are just fans of sportsmanship in general.”
The two officials dedicated the rally to retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.
— YeSUV (@IslesWhiteSUV) November 5, 2017
Great job by these officials to show their support of their NHL brethren.