Playoffs Mark Beginning of Sundown for “The Barn” as an NHL Arena
As Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins was about to begin, there was a roar, followed by a series of chants, followed by another roar that was eerily familiar. I grew up about 3 miles from the Nassau Coliseum. I started going to Islander games when I was 10. That roar. That echo of the Barn is second to none, at least for a few more days.
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum opened in 1972. At the time, it was a state of the art facility. Its oval design with highly sloped seats put the fans right on top of the action. The players and performers can feel the fans, not just hear them. The building is so antiquated, they have to bring in portable trailer bathrooms to accommodate the crowds. There still aren’t enough. There are no real corporate suites or club viewing areas. It’s a 1970’s arena. The Nassau Coliseum earned the nickname, “The Barn.”
The Islanders are moving into a state of the art facility next to Belmont Racetrack about 10 miles from the Coliseum. It’s going to be great. However, saying goodbye to the Barn will be tough. The Islanders won four Stanley Cups from my sophomore year in high school through my freshman year in college. Much like Shea Stadium was for me, the Barn is like home and the fans are often like family.
Yes, I will love the UBS Arena, much like I love Citi Field but the memories of being in middle school, riding my bike with my friends to the Coliseum for a Saturday afternoon matinee with the Islanders or Dr. J and the Nets will forever be etched in my mind...with a smile.