Over the years, the Nassau Coliseum has endured it’s fair share of criticism and some of it deservedly so. After all, it is one of the oldest un renovated arenas in the entire country, so with the age some issues should be expected. Despite those issues, this year, Islander fans are showing why it is still a great place to watch hockey.
Best Sight lines Around
If you have been to the Coliseum, you know there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The Coliseum, for all its faults has some of the best sight lines of any arena anywhere. This makes going to games easier because it doesn’t really matter where you sit because you will still be able to see everything. At the end of this season, the Islanders will bid farewell to the Coliseum and begin to call the Barclays Center in Brooklyn home. While Barclays Center is new, without most of the criticisms that face the Coliseum, one major criticism is the sight lines. Most seats on one end of the ice have some sort of obstruction which is worlds different from the Coliseum.
Sellouts, Sellouts, and More Sellouts
Over the years, Islander fans have been criticized for the Islanders low attendance. The team has often been bottom three in overall attendance over the last number of years. While the numbers may not truly reflect it yet, as someone who has been at every game the last half of dozen years, this season is different. Through 18 home games this year, the Islanders have sold out half of them. Back in November, Islanders broadcaster Butch Goring said he was told that most of the home games for the remainder of the season were sold out as well. Opposing players will be the first ones to tell you that a sold out Nassau Coliseum is not a fun place to play in. The rise in attendance has given the Islanders a home ice advantage this season which is reflected in their 14-4 home record to this point.
Butch Goring on Hockey Central: “the team told me that of the 30 remaining home games, a majority are already sold out.” WOW.
— NYI FansForLife (@NYIFansForLife) November 28, 2014
Best Atmosphere There Is
If you have never been to the Coliseum when it is sold out, I highly suggest you try to make your way there before the end of the season. While I might be biased, I feel comfortable saying that there is no better venue out there to watch a big game than a sold out Nassau Coliseum. It is by far the loudest place I have ever heard and the chants at times can be spine tingling. While some outsiders may think that sounds crazy, my response would be to not judge a book by its cover. From the time you get near the parking lot on game day or game night until you leave the parking lot following the game, your either cheering, jumping around or honking your horn. Tailgating is also a staple for Islander fans as well. No matter how cold it is, on a given game night you will almost always find at least a couple of fans in the parking lot for hours before the game is set to face-off.
Recently, Islanders coach Jack Capuano told the New York Times about the crowds this year, “You can feel the emotion in the building — it’s terrific.” Islanders forward Anders Lee added, “They are loyal and they are passionate…we need that.” Players have also been acknowledging the fans for their great support this season by saluting them following victories. Lately, during the salute, some players have also began doing the “yes” chant that has become a staple at the Coliseum after the Islanders score a goal.
The Coliseum may have small concourses and not have enough bathrooms, but watching a hockey game there is second to none. While this might be the last year of the Coliseum, Islander fans are sending out the arena the way it deserves and it will only continue as the season rolls on.