The day has arrived...the 2015-16 NHL season officially kicks off tonight, 114 days after the Chicago Blackhawks won their 6th Stanley Cup on June 15 on home ice.
An impressive feat, no doubt - but I would just like to remind everyone about the Islander's reign, winning 4 Stanley Cups in 4 back to back seasons. Sure - it was a couple, er, 15, years ago - but it is still impressive. And likely never to be accomplished again.
is that the Islanders will never win another Stanley Cup in the Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum on Long Island - because tomorrow night they open their first season played at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.
I have a lot of feelings.
Inevitably, when I tell people I'm an Islanders fan, they ask what I think about the move. The first thing that happens is my brain floods with memories from the coliseum. Sure it was slightly hideous, but it was home.
(And the sunsets were beautiful!)
I've been going to Islanders games at the coliseum since before I can remember, but I still remember the first time I knowingly attended an Islanders game. My dad told me we were going to eat dinner with my mom at her work, so imagine my surprise when we walked inside the coliseum! My first response was, "But won't Mommy be sad we aren't eating dinner with her?"
There were the games watched from suites that my dad got through work. You would think I would feel like a queen sitting up their in the catered cubes - but I always complained that no one up there cared about hockey. I wanted to be down in the bleachers, in the mix with
I wanted to be jumping up and down trying to catch a shirt blasted out into the crowd by the ice girls - even though I knew they were all XXXXLs that I would never wear. I wanted to be taking pictures with Sparky, and staring up mesmerized at the ceiling as the blimp floated around the rafters, dropping down gift cards to lucky fans. I wanted that moment when my face appeared on the jumbo tron, or they released streamers into the crowd after a playoff win.
I got all of those things on memorable nights where I stayed up far past my bedtime - indulging on Dip n Dots and wondering what my dad found so appetizing about the damn peanuts.
There was of course the raucous fans around me yelling things I wasn't allowed to repeat - instead we constantly told the Islanders to, "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!"
If there was anything I learned being a young Islanders fan in the 90s it was to remain loyal. As a 7 year old, there were nights I was convinced my personal presence in the coliseum was causing the Islanders to lose. Would I ever experience that joyous win? Surrounded by fellow passionate fans?
Down 7-1 with 2 minutes left in the third period, I would beg my parents not to make me leave - I needed to stay with my team until that final buzzer...you simply never knew what was going to happen! Hockey was unpredictable, exciting, thrilling, fast and furious.
Countless games later and the place continued to feel more and more like home. I knew the chants, I knew the familiar sound of the organ. I knew that no matter where I was sitting, I'd likely be able to move down a bunch of rows and even if I couldn't, the view was great from everywhere. I knew the bathroom lines were going to be horrendous. I knew that if the team scored 3 goals I'd get free chili from Wendy's the next day. I knew
Mainly, we were there for games, but I also attended American Idols Live concerts, Disney on Ice shows, maybe a Josh Groban concert...not to mention my 6 year old glee at watching an exhibition gymnastics show from the Gold Medal winning Atlanta Olympic team.
Last season, each trip to the coliseum got a little harder as the end drew near. The night I got to work at the game collecting content for social media - up close and personal with the players and building -was a night I will certainly never forget.
I'll also never forget this epic pre-game, crammed in a hotel room with so many people who mean so much to me. The rain kept us from tailgating in the parking lot, but I'll hold those memories forever as well.
When the end of the season arrived, I didn't shed a tear as I expected that I would. Perhaps because I was satisfied with that final season at the coliseum. I had experienced another year of memories, the team had performed well, and I had gotten to say my goodbyes.
Perhaps I won't shed that tear until reality sinks in tomorrow night and the puck drops on a difference sheet of ice.
But, whenever someone brings up the Islanders moving to Barclays, the first thing I need to make clear is:
I will miss the coliseum.
have echoed this sentiment
, but I needed to add my personal take on it.