Twenty years ago today, I started Outside The Garden a few months after the old Rivals website for the Rangers closed down. I had moved out of New York by then, but still followed the team closely, even while they were mired in what would be a seven year playoff drought.
I had come to follow the team in the 1996-97 season, and the playoffs that season when the Rangers came back from Game 1 losses to beat both the Panthers and Devils in five games, before losing to the Flyers and the Legion of Doom in the Eastern Conference Finals.
It took another four years after that introduction to the Rangers for me to get the site started, though a focus on statistics and community was part of the site from the beginning, and continues in an even expanded fashion today.
We’re now onto a third General Manager and soon to be eighth coach in that span, along with three hundred and fifteen players who’ve dressed in the Broadway Blue since we started – I did actually check it.
The Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets had just completed their inaugural season, while the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Phoenix Coyotes were still official team names. The Atlanta Thrashers had yet to move north to Winnipeg, and the Islanders were still playing in Nassau Coliseum.
We’ve also seen a bunch of changes in that time, and if you care to look back at what the site looked like over the years, why don’t you check out the Internet Wayback Machine. From humble beginnings to where we’re at now, with the help of many contributors, as well as to you who’ve supported the site by reading the stories, using the various resources, or participating in the forums.
It’s not always been smooth, and it hasn’t always been easy to keep the site up to date from a day to day basis. I became a father several years back, and that certainly changed my priorities. From that seven year run without the playoffs, through lockouts and work-stoppages, into the Jagr-lead Rangers who morphed into a team that had a long string of success before falling flat in 2018, and now into a team that seems rich with possibilities – we’ve road the rollercoaster along with you.
Most importantly with you.
To the contributors to the site, to those of you who use OTG as a reference or a place to talk the Rangers to those of you who follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks to all of you, you make the effort worth while.
Thank to all of you, and hopefully we’ll see you in another 20 years!