As she walked into NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night, Katie McCabe had no idea she was moments away from being showered with gifts, but the Sayville resident still had a huge smile.
For McCabe, like the thousands of other fans in attendance, having the Islanders back on Long Island was reason enough to be thrilled.
McCabe’s night became that much more exciting when she learned she was the one-millionth fan in NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum. That tally includes concerts and other events, but it probably was fitting that this milestone for the renovated Coliseum, which re-opened on April 5, 2017, was reached for an Islanders game.
“I was so giddy just coming into the Coliseum, to be back,” said McCabe, who walked into the arena with her fiance, Doug Meehan, his brother Michael and Michael’s wife, Lauren. “I walked through and I’m waiting for the three of them to follow me and I see everybody staring at me. I’m like, ‘Did I do something?’ And then all of a sudden they’re throwing confetti at me.”
“I’m one of 18 cousins and there’s 13 of us here,” McCabe said. She would not be sitting with them, though, because rinkside seats were part of the promotion.
She also received an autographed jersey and tickets to future events at the Coliseum, but McCabe said just being back for an Islanders game was special enough. “I love the Coliseum,’’ she said. “My parents grew up in Uniondale. This is home . . . this is where we belong.”
She hardly was alone in feeling that way. “From someone who grew up down the block, this is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day,” said Leon Bassen of East Meadow. “When you look around here, you see a wonderful fan base.”
“It means everything to be back,” said Eric Delorfano of West Islip. “This is where our championships were won.”
Said Farmingdale’s Nick Haralambidis, “The Islanders are Nassau County. This is where we started, so it’s great to have them back.”
Bassen shared the feeling of many in thinking that the team’s final playoff game in April 2015 meant it was gone from the Coliseum for good.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few years,” he said. “In my heart of hearts, did I hope that maybe we could get back here at some point? Of course I did, but I didn’t think it would happen. And here we are.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that this was the millionth fan in the history of the Coliseum, not the renovated venue.