The New York Islanders completed yet another successful season after reappearing in the Semi Final for the second year in a row. The Isles put up a great fight as they pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination but unfortunately fell to the champions in the decisive 7th game 1-0.
Fans were stunned by the Islanders performance in the playoffs. They were only five wins away from marching down Hempstead Turnpike in celebration of a fifth Stanley Cup. A lifelong Islanders fan known as “The Sign Guy”, Patrick Dowd, thinks that even though the Coliseum era is over, the memories will never die.
Dowd attended the first game at Nassau Coliseum back in 1972 when the Islanders played the New York Rangers. “I was 12 years old and I went with my dad. The Islanders ended up losing that game 6-4.”
There was an abundance of ups and downs just in this season alone. Limited attendance or no attendance, rescheduling games, and COVID-19 outbreaks were some of the few downs that were experienced across the league. Every Islanders fan had additional questions like “Will I ever see the Islanders play a game at the Coliseum again?”
“The whole season was like a magic carpet ride. Lots of ups and downs and uncertainty,” Dowd explained.
The last game at the Coliseum was definitely one to remember and so is the whole 2020-21 NHL season. “As the playoffs started, we were constantly unsure about what would be the real last game,” Dowd stated.
Fans packed the Coliseum for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on June 23. A popular concern was whether or not the season would end. “Walking into the game I thought, ‘Is this going to be the last of the Coliseum?’ I did not know if we would win or lose.”
As we all know, Dowd is a super-fan and has seen a crazy amount of Islanders games throughout his life. “The last game at the Coliseum, that game, in particular, I hold the dearest to my heart. Down 2-0 then they come back and Anthony Beauvillier wins it in overtime. The place was erupting.”
From morning to midnight on June 23, any Islanders fan in attendance would probably describe that day as unforgettable.
"“I will remember from when I arrived at the Coliseum to when I walked the halls celebrating with fans while exiting the arena. My family and friends were around me and I just felt pure joy. That is the last memory I will hold onto forever”"
Islanders fans seek to make their new home, UBS Arena, just as electric as the Coliseum. “That place is state of the art, from the seating, the structure, and the experience you will get. It is truly built for the fans.”
UBS Arena will be a desired away trip for other NHL fans to make. Dowd said “There are restaurants, places to gather with friends and family, and a bar that has a view of the ice. It is going to be a great experience.”
Islanders fans have a lot to look forward to next season. These past two years are only the start of another Stanley Cup story. “It is going to be hard to follow two amazing seasons but overall it will be a great season. I think we have a great team under great staff and we will see the fifth cup in our future.”