Get your vocal chords ready.
Islanders fans weren’t happy and Brett Yormark knew it.
Shortly after face-off last night, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark determined replying to a complimentary tweet was the proper time and place to address our story that “If You’re Happy And You Know It” would no longer be played at Barclays Center, saying that fans will hear the song at Monday’s matinee versus the Detroit Red Wings.
@PoliteEric not true . Fans will hear it Monday .
— Brett Yormark (@brettyormark) February 14, 2016
Barclays Center and Yormark can spin this any way they want, but it is evident that the tremendous response from Islanders fans via social media contributed to the song being reinstated. Fans were discussing singing the song acapella multiple times during home games and as cool as that may have been, certainly would have far from ideal for the arena.
The facts are the song has not been played at each of the last two home games (Sunday vs Edmonton, Thursday vs Los Angeles), two games where the team had big early leads – the ideal scenario for playing the song.
Paul Cartier, the team’s longtime organist, acknowledged the word “ban” in a tweet on Friday morning. In a separate Facebook post, Cartier wrote “each of the last two games I was instructed not to play our song….not sure if this is permanent.”
@GeorgeAPace there has been a ban placed on your favorite song… Sorry…
— Paul Cartier (@PaulGCartier) February 12, 2016
I am pleased that once again Barclays Center has demonstrated the ability to listen to the opinions of fans and when possible, get it right in the end. My frustration and the frustration I think of many fans is that these missteps keep on happening. The arena had 3 years to understand Islanders fans and the traditions they take the most pride in as silly as some may be to an outsider.
In the 5 months the Islanders have made their home in Brooklyn, the below decisions have all been reversed due to fan response.
- The changing of the goal horn to a MTA subway inspired horn
- No pre-game warm up access for fans (later 91 wrist bands for STH only)
- “Sparky” The Dragon being “retired” before making a grand return
- Plan to wear black jerseys versus the Rangers at home
- Increase STH prices for fans in Section 229
- The playing of “If You’re Happy …”
Now, I do not condone personal attacks, vulgar language, etc towards Brett Yormark and others. It should’t happen and needs to stop, but Barclays Center needs to find a better way to use their best resource for what will make Barclays Center a destination – the fans.
Instead, it seems Barclays has chosen to look outside too often for recommendations on how to improve attendance and enhance the in-game experience. That formula isn’t working.
The same rules that would apply for an expansion team do not work the Islanders in Brooklyn. The same rules that apply for the Manhattan based New York Rangers and their corporate and celebrity culture does not work for the Islanders. And without a doubt the same rules that apply for the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA do not work for the New York Islanders of the NHL.
I’m hopeful that over time, new Islanders traditions will be created at Barclays Center. However, too often in 2015-16, have Islanders fans been forced to fight in order to maintain their old ones.