Are you excited to watch the Islanders play an outdoor game next season? The answer is probably yes, but if you are a New York Islanders season ticket holder, you might be a bit annoyed too.
The initial reaction to hearing the Islanders would be taking part in the 2024 Stadium Series games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, was positive. The Isles are rarely offered the national spotlight, and this will be an opportunity for the team to be the center of the NHL world for a few hours during the regular season.
However, often when the Islanders are granted an opportunity in the spotlight, they need to share it with their cross-town rival. the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts cannot be the home team for outdoor games due to their lease agreement with Madison Square Garden, which means the Islanders and their fans will lose UBS Arena home against the Blueshirts in the 2023-24 season.
Following the changes in the NHL schedule last season, the Islanders and Rangers, long considered one of the biggest rivalries in the league, met only three times last season with Igor Shesterkin, Artemi Panarin and co. visiting Long Island just once, which came in late December.
Because of the Stadium Series game, it means that the Islanders will only host the Rangers twice at home over two regular seasons. For season ticket holders, who spend thousands of dollars for their seats at UBS Arena, losing a prime home game in exchange for having to travel to New Jersey, where the crowd will more than likely be heavily rooting for the Blueshirts, is disappointing.
The New Jersey Devils, on the other hand, will get to be the home team in New Jersey, across from where they once played, and help Stanley Cup celebrations. They are reportedly hosting the Philadelphia Flyers, and while the trip to the Meadowlands is very reasonable for Flyers fans, it will absolutely feel like a Devils home game.
One of the major benefits of being a season ticket holder is that you are guaranteed to have seats for the most desired games on the schedule each season. Now, you'll be among 60,000-70,000 fans from a vantage point not as good and a seat not as cozy as the one you purchased for the season. Is it a huge deal? No, but you can understand why some fans are a little less thrilled about the news of an outdoor game than others.
At least we'll all get to see a new Islanders jersey in New Jersey.