While most fans arrived to Barclays Center in Brooklyn to cheer on the New York Islanders or the visiting Vancouver Canucks, hundreds of people were cheering for another team.
Wearing black and white striped shirts, they came to cheer on the referees and linesmen.
— Matt (@dooley_matt_) February 1, 2020
The group was there to celebrate “Referee Appreciation Night,” an annual event now in their fourth year according to the group’s website.
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) February 1, 2020
The group describes themselves as “a bunch of strangers (soon to be best friends) going to a hockey game dressed as referees and cheering for the refs…and only the refs.” They’re hoping to promote a “pro-sportsmanship agenda worldwide.”
The group started with 27 fans at the inaugural event in 2017, but has grown considerably since then. They had 120 fans in 2018, 340 in 2019, and the goal for 2020 was to get over 600 fans to celebrate the refs.
We’re not exactly sure how many people showed up, but they filled most of two sections of the arena. It looked like a fun party, as the group cheered every penalty, offside, icing, and “really anytime those glorious zebras blow their whistles.”
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) February 1, 2020
🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓🦓 😳 pic.twitter.com/jN6mXrXBv3
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 1, 2020
— Steve Rockoff (@SteelIsles) February 1, 2020
There is an entire section of zebras at this Islanders game and they are chanting “let’s go refs” and going NUTS for every icing and offside call. pic.twitter.com/lPfY0Bx5j9
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) February 1, 2020
— 🦞 (@NickLeddysBeard) February 1, 2020
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