Updated: Oct 28, 2020
By: Marissa Jezierski
For the first time since September 2015, the New York Islanders will have one home and one home only: the Nassau Coliseum. The news was announced on February 29 by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the National Hockey League (NHL). Commissioner Gary Bettman said that any and all home playoff games the Islanders may play this season, as well as all of their home games next season, will be played in Uniondale.
Unfortunately, it is important to note that due to the outbreak of the coronavirus over the last month or so, the amount of games the Islanders play at Nassau Coliseum for this season and playoffs is uncertain. On March 12, the NHL announced an indefinite suspension on the 2019- ‘20 season. This means that the Islanders will not be playing any games anywhere until further notice.
On a lighter note, Governor Cuomo said, “We’ve been working to get the Islanders back to Long Island. Why? Because that’s where they belong.”
This news delighted Islander fans, many of whom are Long Island natives. Some say that the Coliseum is a better place to watch a game than at Barclays Center. Add a shorter commute to the game as a perk to this news. Instead of having to take an hour-long train ride, many fans will now have the ability to drive to games that take less time.
As a born and raised Long Islander, it is brilliant news for me to hear that the Islanders will be playing all of their home games for the next year or so at Nassau Coliseum instead of sharing time with the Barclays Center. The Barclays Center was never a suitable arena to play hockey in, nor was its geographic location convenient for fans. When they moved to Brooklyn, one of their goals was to gain more fans. However, in every season since the move, they failed to attract more fans and ranked in the bottom three in the league in attendance. Thus, that goal wasn’t successfully reached.
I’ve been a hockey fan since I was a little kid, so every once in a while, my dad would take me to Islander games at the Coliseum. The atmosphere was so electric and intense even during the regular season. Whenever the Islanders would make the playoffs, there would be a buzz in nearby towns and excitement amongst fans. During the three playoff rounds that the Isles played at Barclays Center, that excitement wasn’t quite the same.
As the most high-profile professional sports team in both Nassau/Suffolk counties, the Islanders mean a lot to many people that grew up near Nassau Coliseum. My hometown is in Wantagh, which is about 15 minutes away from the arena. I always thought it was the coolest thing in the world for an NHL team to be located so close to where I lived. The Coliseum is a place where many memories have been made, from tailgating in the parking lot with friends to driving down Hempstead Turnpike to head to the game.
The Islanders began playing at the Nassau Coliseum in 1972, their inaugural season as a franchise, and have played there for nearly 45 years. It’s where some of their fondest memories as an organization took place, from numbers being retired to three of their four Stanley Cups being lifted for the first time. This is where they belong until their move to Belmont in 2021. Let the traditions and memories in “The Barn” continue!