It’s still hard to believe that the New York Islanders playoff run is over, and it’s even harder to fathom that Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has hosted its final game.
This year’s team brought back a lot of memories for the Isles fanbase. For the younger generation, it finally gave them something special to experience. The Coliseum returned to its former glory, with Islanders fans proving that they are not only the best fans in hockey, but also the loudest and most passionate.
With the “Old Barn” doors officially closing for good, the IslesBlog writing staff looked back on our memories of the Coliseum.
Dani Mohr: Contributor
Growing up about a 20-minute drive from the Coliseum, my family used to make visits pretty often. When I first started to get into sports and the Islanders at about ten years old, I would show up to every game I attended dressed head-to-toe in Isles gear.
One game around the 2009-10 season, my whole family showed up covered in orange and blue fueled with excitement. My sister, however, ran out of energy pretty quick. It was a slow game at first so she started to get pretty drowsy, and fell asleep in my mother’s lap by the end of the second. In the third period, the Islanders scored four goals, with the foghorns echoing throughout the Barn, but my sister didn’t even flinch.
Coming home with an Isles victory, my sister was carried out of the Barn still overcome with slumber. I’ll never forget cheering with excitement along stumbling Isles fans, and hearing my sister chant “Let’s Go Islanders!” as we drove away in the car.
James Nichols: Co-Editor-in-Chief
June 9th, 2021 is my most recent, special memory at the Coliseum. It wasn’t exactly Game 6 vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it was a game where the Islanders came back to the Coliseum determined to shut down the big bad Boston Bruins, and they did so convincingly.
It all started with the postgame conference in Game 5, when Bruce Cassidy claimed the Islanders were instead the “New York Saints.” You bet the Islander fans ran with that one, printing shirts, wearing costumes, and embracing the Saints mantra. Then, it was time for the national anthem, one of the first times the crowd really took over for anthem singer, Nicole Raviv. From there, you got the sense that the fans would run through a wall for the Islanders, and the Islanders the same for the fans.
The Coliseum comes together for the anthem. 🇺🇸#Isles pic.twitter.com/7HCVMjM2To
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 9, 2021
And they did just that.
A dominant performance saw the Islanders take down the Bruins in what was probably their most dominant performance in the Barry Trotz era. That was the signal that the Islanders took another step forward, solidifying their Stanley Cup contenders status. It was a special night during a special run, and I’m confident we’ll see more of those moving forward at the UBS Arena.
READ MORE: Tuchman: Is Valdimir Tarasenko Worth the Risk for the Isles?
Rob Taub: Co-Editor-in-Chief
For me, whose been going to the the Coliseum since I was six months old, it’s hard to spotlight one particular game as my lasting memory of the building. The Coliseum was truly my second home — and I’m not kidding either.
Going to Isles games there was what me and my family did for 41 or more nights a year (we’ve had season tickets since the late ‘70s). That place was special for me because it was an escape from reality. Even during the dark times — and there were plenty as a fan growing up — nothing beat getting to be inside that building. The aura to it. The history. The uniqueness. The sound that reverberated when it was jam-packed. There really wasn’t anything like it.
I forged friendships in the Coliseum, got people into the sport, including my girlfriend, by taking them to games at the Coliseum. I even was a part of — not to mention to stop — fights and brawls inside the place (mostly during games against the Rangers). Again though, it was things like that which made the Coliseum so great. It was a generational meeting place.
Shawn. Bates. Is. A. God.
That is all. #TBT | @NYIslanders | #Isles pic.twitter.com/b4SAZ1nBXP
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) September 26, 2019
I’ll remember the Shawn Bates penalty shot. I’ll remember the final week of the ‘06-‘07 season and how that place rocked. The darkest of nights when there was crowds you could count by hand. Fight Night in 2011. The revitalization of the franchise before they moved to Brooklyn; those were some awesome moments. It still pains me that the original send off the Coliseum was supposed to have only got to experience three games of playoffs. The night they came back in December of 2018 was one of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever witnessed, not even as just a sports fan either. Then there’s been the last three years and the wild ride the team and building have gone on.
I waited years to see the Coliseum in all its glory after listening to story upon story of what the place was like back during the dynasty years. I finally got to experience that. And while yes it didn’t end with the Stanley Cup being presented on the fabled logo at center ice, I’ll cherish all the moments that came from the last few springs and summers.
The Coliseum was where I grew up. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but time moves on and a beautiful new palace is waiting at UBS Arena for the franchise.
So I’ll end it like this, in the words of Fall Out Boy:
”Thanks for the Memories.”