Santini's whole family is Ranger fans. Nothing to do with their "socio-economic" status. Sure, they own a rink and a team up in Westchester, but they are hardly hoighty toighty types. See: his cousin from NJ. Rough, rugged, blue collar type family. Rangers fans.
I'm not calling all Rangers fans (or the Santinis) Rockefeller types, just agreeing with someone else that I've noticed some of the higher end families around me in Hudson/Bergen Counties being Rangers fans. Granted, I wasn't even making the connection between the "theory" and the Santinis, as they live in NY and have every right to be proud Rangers fans without us criticizing them. I was only bringing up the Santinis in the context of joking that he maybe was one of those "kids who comes to the Rock in Rangers jerseys to cheer against the Devils."
But to take a step back a bit, I absolutely subscribe to the socio-economic theory, and hear me out:
It's not really up for debate that playing or being involved in hockey is generally a middle class/upper-middle class sport at the very least, it absolutely is (much like lacrosse, golf, etc.)... So, a family who's spending a ton of money on equipment and putting their kids into a hockey program in the 80s or 90s presumably had that interest or passion for hockey already, right (it's not like little league baseball or soccer where you can just throw your kids into these programs cheaply nowadays, it's an expensive path)? And obviously, most family-age adults in the 80s or early 90s (pre-1995) in New Jersey are prior Rangers fans. So these kids are mostly likely to grow up to be Rangers fans. Not making any monumental conclusions here, I know.
Now let's go to Hudson and Essex Counties and the surrounding areas, and spotlight a Devils fan like me. I played soccer for fun as a kid, very cheap sport. My parents are both immigrants and only really knew soccer. I had no background in hockey until I was 7 and we randomly went to a game with cheap tickets (in 1995). Boom, there it started, I had no prior allegiances. Now, where does the socio-economic debate kick in? Most kids in these two counties, Hudson and Essex (and beyond, even parts of Bergen and Passaic Counties) have the same background as me: immigrant background, no prior interest in hockey at all, mostly middle class or below; I'm not making this stuff up, it's just a simple demographic of this area. Someone from around here lands into hockey fandom by way of the New Jersey Devils being your local team, moreso now with the arena being in Newark and accessible by public transportation.
It's not a cut-and-dry black-or-white thing, obviously, but there is some truth to there being a slight socio-economic shift in the fanbases. Trust me when I say there's way more racial diversity in the people wearing Devils jerseys than there is with the people wearing Rangers jerseys, and it's clearly visible if you've been to your share of NY-NJ games. KEEP IN MIND, I'M TALKING ABOUT NEW JERSEY-BASED RANGERS FANS vs. NEW JERSEY DEVILS FANS, not all Rangers fans.
Edited by DJ Eco, 07 April 2014 - 11:50 AM.