New York Rangers fans suit up for playoffs

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New York Rangers fans suit up for playoffs

The Madison Square Garden crowd that watched the New York Rangers down the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night was large, loud and outrageously photogenic.

The Rangers aren't exactly shy to promote that last fact, even sharing the seat locations of celebrities in attendance with journalists covering the game.

On Tuesday the A-list included actors Liam Neeson, Michael J Fox, Kate Upton, Susan Sarandon and Ottawa's own Matthew Perry, perhaps the only member of that exclusive club who was rooting for the Sens.

The camera also found Last Week Tonight host John Oliver and Claire Danes of Homeland fame, plus two members of the NFL's New York Giants, Justin Pugh and Landon Collins.

During intermissions the celebs were hustled away by security to some secret location within the bowels of the old barn, ensuring surrounding fans didn't spill beer on them in the rush for autographs.

Financial district fashion

Even when you remove the beautiful outliers from the crowd, hockey fans in New York City still bear little resemblance to their less cosmopolitan counterparts.

While most hockey fans arrived at Boston's TD Garden last round looking like the blue-collar, lunch bucket crowd of hockey fanatics they are, the unwritten dress code at MSG was more Manhattan cocktail party.

In Canada — with the possible exception of Toronto — only the players wear suits to NHL games.

But at Game 3 in New York, fans wore the uniform of Wall Street, which is after all just a short subway ride away.

Nikola and Sonya Ruddy, two transplanted 20-something Ottawa sisters taking in Tuesday's game, agreed to interpret the prevalence of creased trousers and Ferragamo shoes in the crowd.

"Definitely a lot of suits here," observed Nikola. "Not as many jerseys as you'd see back in Ottawa."

"We live in New York, so everyone's getting off work at about 6:30," explained Sonya. That means many fans show up to a 7 p.m. game in their finest financial district wear.

Take Brian, for example, a 30-something financial sector worker dressed in a fitted shirt and dark slacks.

"I think a lot of guys on Wall Street really like hockey, and the game is early, at seven o'clock. So you don't really have time to go home and change."

Free tickets a job perk

Farther along the Garden's ornately-tiled concourse promenade, a group of four well-dressed young men drank beer from plastic cups.

"We left our office, got in the subway and were here in 10 minutes," said one of them.

"You definitely get an uptick in the suit-wearing population during playoff games," added another.

He said many of the well-dressed fans at the game were there thanks to free tickets from their financial district employers.

"If you're in a suit, you're probably not paying for your ticket, because it's a corporate thing."

Other fans shelled out for their tickets, big time.

Rob, dressed in a Rangers jersey, said unlike many of the Wall Street workers there, he and his friends paid for their seats.

"We paid $700 apiece," he said. "And they were $1,500 yesterday, so I think we did OK."

Whether they were on the receiving end of a nice perk or forked over big bucks, Rangers fans left Madison Square Garden happy Tuesday night as their team toppled the Senators 4-1.

Rangers fans will suit up again Thursday for Game 4 at MSG.