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Islanders Go Home

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Islanders Go Home

The Islanders have returned the Nassau Coliseum after 250 games away. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)

The Islanders have returned the Nassau Coliseum after 250 games away. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)

The Islanders have returned the Nassau Coliseum after 250 games away. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)

The Islanders have returned the Nassau Coliseum after 250 games away. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)


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By Chris Hennessy

Originally, I wrote a piece about the coaching changes in this season for this edition of The Ram. After watching the Islanders game on Saturday night, I knew I needed to start over and change my topic to something much, much closer to my heart.

I am an Islanders fan. I’ve tried to keep that out of my pieces in the early stages of my Ram career, but there was no way around this one. The Islanders completed a 250-game-long road trip with a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Coliseum was the sole home of the Islanders for the first 43 years of the organization and a second home for everyone who loves the New York Islanders. Sure, they played games at the Barclays Center and called that their home arena, but everybody knew that was short term. Shovels will be in the ground in the spring for their long-term home at Belmont Park, but this temporary arena is much more beloved than the other one.

The Islanders will split their home games between the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Coliseum in Uniondale for this season and the next two, with the plan being to open at Belmont Park beginning in the fall of 2021.

The Barclays Center is a beautiful basketball facility, but putting an ice rink in that arena looks like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, to use an overdone cliché, but it really does. There are sections of seats covered up because they don’t face the entire ice, and others aren’t even available to buy in the upper deck for other logistical reasons. It’s a disaster. There are games where they don’t even get 10,000 fans into the stadium.

Not the Old Barn, though. No way. 1255 Hempstead Turnpike was rocking on Saturday night because of nostalgia, excitement, and love. Not just love for a team, but love for a building. Love for the first time you went to an Islander game with your dad, love for four straight Stanley Cups, love for playoff memories and love for hope for the future to have the Islanders on Long Island.

While playing at Barclays stinks for Isles fans because it’s a pain to get to and it doesn’t look right, any true fan would praise late owner Charles Wang for keeping the team in the area. When it was announced they would move to Barclays, there was a serious threat they would move even further away, to Kansas City or Quebec City, but they didn’t.

The Coliseum was not in very good shape, but it has been refurbished, redone and is ready for Islanders hockey once again. All is good with hockey on Long Island again.

The Islanders are finally home.

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