After what seemed like an eternity, the time has finally come for the Islanders to rock the barn again for the very last time.
Well, sort of.
According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, any large stadium or arena is now permitted to open starting February 23. However, arenas and stadiums with a capacity of 10,000 people or more are limited to 10 percent capacity.
The capacity of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum prior to the pandemic was 14,500. After applying almost a 90 percent deduction, the number of fans permitted to attend games will be approximately 1,450.
While Cuomo’s statement outlines the opening process to begin February 23, it is unclear when the Islanders will officially welcome fans back into the barn for the very last time.
“We look forward to welcoming the best fans in hockey back to the Coliseum as soon as possible and to the UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season,” the franchise released in a statement.
Not only does this finally grant a sense of normalcy for fans, but it also brings several players back to the good old days. Although several fans will not get the opportunity, giving any amount of fans the opportunity to scream “YES YES YES” after every Isles goal can be a big motivator for the team to finish what they started last season.
“We’d really enjoy the fans back and we missed that element in our game…They’re a big part of what we do,” head coach Barry Trotz said earlier today.
Potentially as early as February 25, the Islanders will have fans bursting with energy for their matchup against the Boston Bruins. And according to reliable Eric Hornick of MSG, 22 of the Isles’ 28 home games are scheduled for after the February 23rd. That means fans may be in the building for all four matchups against the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) February 10, 2021
Cuomo additionally outlined that sports arenas scheduling to open must first have their plans approved by the state. Pending state approval, the Coliseum can also be eligible for concerts and shows.
But for now, it’s time for Isles fans to pack the barn in every way possible.
Follow Danielle on Twitter at @daniraemhor