Bob Nystrom greets fans and signs autographs during the Islanders...

Bob Nystrom greets fans and signs autographs during the Islanders Watch Party in the park at UBS Arena, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. Credit: Jeff Bachner

It was, for all intents and purposes, Long Island’s largest block party.

In the middle of it all, naturally, was Bobby Nystrom.

He posed for pictures.

He signed autographs.

He heard the stories.

And he had a grand time.

“I enjoy being with the fans,” Nystrom told Newsday on Sunday afternoon before the Islanders’ wild 6-5 overtime loss to the Rangers at MetLife Stadium.

The opportunity for fans to meet and greet Nystrom was the centerpiece of the Islanders’ Stadium Series watch party at The Park at UBS Arena.

A little more than 1,000 people filled the park to partake in outdoor skating on two rinks and participate in interactive games before sitting down to watch on large screens.

“I’m a huge Islanders fan. I just wanted to experience the game with a lot of fans,” said Shay Feldman, 18, of Flushing.

She had considered making the trip to East Rutherford for the game but decided to head to Elmont, and she did not regret her decision.

“It’s been great,” Feldman said. “I won a $25 winter hat for $2.50 [for a carnival game]. It’s an experience like no other.”

Marty Haley of Smithtown, who brought his 9-year-old son Cody with him, said of the atmosphere: “It’s different. It’s pretty cool . . . It makes it worth going to.”

Along with the activities, fans had the option to sit at tables and benches in the park or choose to sit in plastic igloos, which had four seats, two tables and an electric fireplace.

“They really did it well,” said Pete Folino, a Rangers fan who lives in Manhattan.

Indeed, and it could be viewed as a trial run for the 2026 NHL All-Star Weekend, which will be hosted by UBS Arena, the league announced during the game.

It will be the first major league event held on Long Island since the NHL All-Star Game at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 8, 1983.

Before the announcement, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email to Newsday that UBS Arena is a “world-class arena. Great location.”

He went on to say that the league is comfortable with the development of the land around UBS Arena, which includes a shopping district that is scheduled to open this summer and the renovation of Belmont Park racetrack.

Which prompted a hypothetical: Which opponent would Nystrom pick for the Islanders to face in an outdoor game at Belmont Park?

“It’s got to be the Rangers,” Nystrom said. “I think you want to go against the teams that have rivalries. Needless to say, the Islanders can play Philadelphia — we certainly have a rivalry with them — but it’s better if it’s the Rangers.”

That may be the future. In the present, there was a game against the Rangers to watch. He was asked what was more important: the experience of playing in an outdoor game or the result?

“It’s an experience,” Nystrom said after chuckling. “But you always want to come out ahead. Especially when you’re playing the Rangers.”

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