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Editorials

Islanders To Play Final Regular Season Game At Nassau Coliseum

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Fans arrive for the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at the Nassau Coliseum on March 11, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. This will be the first game since March 7, 2020 that the Islanders will host fans in the building, as 1,000 frontline workers were invited to attend. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Fans arrive for the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at the Nassau Coliseum on March 11, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. This will be the first game since March 7, 2020 that the Islanders will host fans in the building, as 1,000 frontline workers were invited to attend. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Everyone has a specific Islanders memory they think about when walking in the Nassau Coliseum. For the final time in the regular season, fans will be able to make memories in that building as it’s the final regular-season game for the franchise in that historic place.

For the first 43 years of the team’s existence, they called Nassau Coliseum home. From Stanley Cup wins, to Shawn Bates’ penalty shot, and even the later years where the building was on its last leg, it held a very special place in the hearts of Islander fans.

In 2018-2019, the team was able to return home to split their season between the Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays center due to the failed attempt at making Brooklyn home. All home games were at the Coliseum this year, for the first time since 2014-2015.

It’s a bittersweet day today. I drive past UBS Arena in Belmont multiple times a week as the Cross Island Parkway is a part of my regular route. It’s so easy to get excited about the new building, especially as we see it coming into its final form just mere months away from opening.

Yet, at the same time, I’m a bit sad as well. Countless memories were had at the old barn, and its days are officially numbered. From my first game in 2002, watching my favorite player Michael Peca take the ice.

My first playoff game in 2013 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game where Kyle Okposo described the building as shaking before puck drop as playoffs returned for the first time in six years.

"I remember hearing the noise of the crowd while we were sitting in the locker room before the game. It was shaking the building — literally shaking. The floor was bouncing and guys’ suits were banging off the walls of their lockers. Nothing needed to be said before that game because we were all so jacked up to play."

Or my last time in the original building, Game 3 of the 2015 playoffs. I know we can’t talk about that player anymore but I’m pretty happy that his OT goal was my final memory in the original building.

I was at the game with my best friend, sitting in the legitimate last row of the building. With the ceiling so low up top, when I jumped out of my seat on the goal, my hands hit the ceiling (6’4″ problems) and I genuinely think I sprained my wrists (didn’t feel any pain until like an hour later when the adrenalin wore off).

Or even the 2019 playoffs, taking one of my closest friends to their first-ever hockey game for Josh Bailey’s OT winner was one of my fondest memories of my fandom. Every fan has memories like these, so tonight is going to be a bit weird for all of us, and I get it.

Try to take it in Islanders fans, because we genuinely don’t know at this point when the final time you’ll walk in that building for a game will be. I really hope it’s for a Stanley Cup Final game, the final game of the series.

Boy, would that be poetic for one of the league’s most historic barns. But in case it’s not, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all the memories, Nassau Coliseum. For all the “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chants, the parking lot pretzels, pregame tailgates, and so much more. You were truly one of a kind.

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