I became an Islanders fan in 1981 when I got an official Bryan Trottier street hockey stick from Santa Claus. I was 7.
A few years later I took my first trip to the Coliseum to see the circus. I remember tripping over a root as we walked from the parking lot to the main entrance. Later, I was fortunate enough to share season tickets in Sec. 307, missing the last game of the 2004 season for the birth of my son.
I bring all this up to help paint a picture.
Many things have changed since I first got that stick. Even the fact that you are reading this online wasn’t possible in 1981. However, nothing has changed at the Nassau Coliseum.
That root is still in the parking lot. The piece of loose sheetrock in Sec. 307 still dangles from the ceiling. While they have made some changes (sushi, new scoreboards, ice girls and many coaches) visiting the Nassau Coliseum is like walking back in time. Not the happy memory lane glimpse of the past but rather a reminder of why new technologies were invented in the first place.
That is the main reason I’d gladly go to Queens to see the Isles. Of course it won’t be as convenient, but if it is anything like Citi Field, I won’t have to wait for half a period to go to the men’s room. Maybe I’ll be able to walk around the inside of the arena and actually still see the game. I might have a cup holder, or at least a seat that isn’t already dirty. I might be able to hear the announcements or actually see the replay on the screen.
More importantly, maybe there will be a team worth watching on the ice. The Islanders had a good season last year, all things considered. At times they were better than anybody thought they would be and their young players were fun to watch. It has to be hard to recruit talented free agents when the arena is in such bad shape.
I will be sad if the Islanders move to Queens but I’ll make the trip. And when I sit in my comfy chair and hear the horn when they score, it will feel just like home.
Plus, it is closer than Kansas City.
Newsday File Photo / Alan Raia