With their Game 7 loss to Washington, it’s the end of an era for the New York Islanders and their fans.
Nassau Coliseum, the place this team has called home since 1972 (43 years), is closing its doors as a major league venue, as the Isles move westward to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They leave behind a legacy that most other NHL franchises could never hope to attain, as well as a following that was far more deeply-rooted than perhaps the mainstream media gave it credit for.
For me, and for countless others, the Coliseum is the setting for countless memories. These playoffs produced even more, and I’d like to offer a glimpse of what that building means to Islander fans. Here are some of their personal recollections:
“Watching the Isles skate around with the Cup after they beat the North Stars.”
-Michele Catalano, East Meadow, NY
“Although I was young, watching Shawn Bates’ penalty shot from my dad’s shoulders. We’ve had season tickets ever since.”
-Nick Chiarelli, Plainview, NY
“The home opener this year. Just had that buzz that we knew it would be a special one.”
-Tyler Hoffman, Bethpage, NY
“When my dad dropped the puck at the 40-year anniversary. 43 years season tickets, same seats literally and figuratively. I went to my first Islander game at five-months-old, been going ever since. A lifetime of memories.”
-Mark Bernstein, Bellmore, NY
“Game 3 was AWESOME. I went with my brother, who got me into hockey, and we’ve been to plenty of games before.. But nothing matches this experience. When they skated out on the ice before the game, I had chills, goosebumps. And it was a bit emotional, knowing not many more games are being played here. I’ve never shouted and cheered so much at a game, to the point that my throat hurt the day after. And when (John Tavares) scored in OT, It was nuts. I couldn’t hear myself shout, all I remember is the hugging of strangers and jumping up and down after that goal. It was easily the most memorable and exciting experience I’ve ever had that, and I’m hoping there will still be something to top it.”
“(Shawn) Bates penalty shot playoff game Drove all the way down from Niagara Falls, Ontario.”
“Potvin’s last game when I was a kid. Lots of love but you felt the era ending.”
-Adam Rossol, Westbury, NY
“I attend the University of Albany. Traveled 3 1/2 hours to come home for the game to leave 24 hours later. Best experience ever.”
“I didn’t see the game winning goal go in (for Game 3) but saw (Nikolay) Kulemin start going nuts….so I started going nuts! Also, after the Boychuk play at the end of the 2nd and thinking ‘Wow! that is one of the greatest defensive plays I have ever seen!’ Getting chills hearing the crowd going nuts waiting for the team to come out before the game.”
-Tani Isaac, New Rochelle, NY
“Favorite moment was not being able to hear the PA system as the Isles came down the tunnel because it was so loud.”
-Eddie Del Castillo, Valley Stream, NY
“Gonna go with Al Arbour night (the second one, where he coached his 1500th game). DiPietro draws the four-minute high stick on Sidney Crosby. Miroslav Satan ties, then wins the game. 1500 banner raised.”
-Shawn Reischmann, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY
“It’s a toss up between two: Isles/Stars, where John Tavares had a hat trick and (Ryan) Strome scored his first goal. Isles/Pens in the 2013 playoffs.”
-Mark Aadal, Poughkeepsie, NY
“In 2007, when Miroslav Satan tied the game against the Devils with 0.7 seconds left in the third period.”
-Max Drew, Jericho, NY
“Game 3, as of now, is my Coliseum memory. My family has been season ticket holders since the beginning, and each member has their moment. My mom’s = The Cup. My dad=the years following that first Cup. My brother =Shawn Bates penalty shot. Now I have one after 100-plus games. Game 3 was definitely my favorite, and was the best I’ve been to in my 15 short years.”
“I told my dad that we will probably be here for hours for overtime, and right after I said that, John Tavares scored and my dad and I jumped together, looking at each other in such joy. I’ll never forget that moment.”
-Maxx Basso, Orange County, NY
These are just a few of so many other memories that fans have of this team and this building. It’s a shame that future generations will not have the opportunity to have their own at Nassau Coliseum.
End of an era, indeed.
Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter @DFriedmanOnNYI