Zach Wilson, New York Jets, QB, New York Rangers, New York Islanders
Zach Wilson, Dan Feeney, New York Jets, Getty Images, Instagram/@zachwilson, Jet X Graphic

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson sets the record straight on his hockey fandom

Zach Wilson has an identity crisis on his hands when it comes to his NHL fandom.

Mere weeks after he was selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Jets quarterback captured the hearts of New York Islanders fans by going wild with Jets teammates during Isles playoff games at Nassau Coliseum. Wilson, Dan Feeney, and other Jets players cheered on Long Island’s local team through a playoff run that fell just one victory shy of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Islanders fans thought Wilson was one of their own. But fast forward to 2022, and now Wilson is stirring confusion amongst New York’s hockey fans.

On May 15, the New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden in Game 7 of the teams’ first-round series. There to witness the thrilling win was none other than Wilson, who was accompanied by wide receiver Braxton Berrios.

What gives, Zach? There’s no such thing as a dual Rangers/Islanders fan around these parts. You have to pick one.

Wilson set the record straight while speaking to the media on Tuesday, following the team’s second practice of OTAs. Die-hard Rangers and Islanders fans will probably not like his cop-out answer.

“It’s interesting, I never watched hockey my whole life,” Wilson said when asked about becoming a hockey fan. “But we got to go to that Islanders game last year, and then this year the Rangers game. Something about that playoff hockey is just a blast.”

Regarding his fandom, Wilson said, “You know, I get a lot of comments on the whole Rangers-Islanders thing. It’s like, really I’m just a fan of New York. Any New York sports teams, I want to support … Being at MSG for a playoff game, Game 7 or whatever it was, is a blast. So that was a ton of fun.”

Wilson didn’t stop at hockey. He’s aiming to become a two-team fan in baseball and basketball as well.

“[The] Mets game was fun, obviously want to go to a Yankees game. Basketball games of course once those get started up again.”

Recently, Wilson was seen at Citi Field taking in a New York Mets game, donning a custom jersey with his name on it. Fans who double up as followers of the Mets and Jets were ecstatic, but Wilson’s Yankees comment probably squashed that excitement. Expect to see him in the Bronx donning pinstripes at some point in the future.

What do New York fans think? Is this an acceptable approach to New York sports fandom for an athlete who actually plays for a New York team? Or does he have to pick his side in each sport?

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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10 months ago

I think it’s very acceptable. As long as he is a Jets fan, it’s all good with me.

10 months ago

I’m not a NYer so don’t really know about these things but are there teams in other sports that Jets fans would naturally align with?

10 months ago

Unacceptable. It’s this type of indecision that will ruin him on the field. He needs to pick sides and sling it.