Nassau Coliseum: The Beginning of the End

For years, fans had been clamoring for Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders, to find a new home for the only professional sports team that exists on Long Island (Photo credit: michele cat/Flickr).

The Lighthouse Project came and went. The August 1st referendum came and failed. There were the ridiculous rumors of Kansas City, Ontario, and other places that never came to fruition. But one thing was certain: the New York Islanders were not going to be playing in the current Nassau Coliseum a day past the 2015 lease expiration date.

With every news story that came and went, the Islanders faithful would stress over what would become of their beloved franchise. Although many hoped that the NHL would step in and help save the Islanders, much like they have done with the Arizona (then Phoenix) Coyotes, nothing was certain.

Wang talked of potentially moving his team, although vowing to do everything he possibly could to keep the Islanders where they rightfully belonged. But after losing hundreds of millions of dollars, it was becoming apparent that Wang was going to have to drop his dreams of rebuilding or renovating the Coliseum and look to other options.

The 2014-2015 season will mark the beginning of the end. When the puck drops the following year for the 2015 season, the Islanders will not be at the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook, but rather the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Barclays Center is a relatively brand new facility that puts the Coliseum to shame in regards to quality due to the simple fact that it is approximately 40 years younger than the old barn. Fans will no longer have to be herded like cattle in order to find their seats and will have stairs and escalators to bring them to different levels. Concession stands and bathrooms are much more common along the concourse, and there is an enormous jumbo-tron that will allow all fans to see what is happening during replays and live gameplay.

Although seating appeared to be an issue for some parts of the arena during the pre-season game last year against the New Jersey Devils, it is something that could be fixed before the start of next year. The Barclays Center is smaller than the Coliseum and will also hold less fans, due largely in part to a section behind one of the goals that completely lacks seating.

All in all, Wang did what he could and found the next best option aside from Uniondale, NY; a new arena that is technically still on Long Island and also accessible through public transportation.

But with all that being said, it is still not Nassau Coliseum, the building that holds all of the rich history and memories that Islanders fans have been a part of for decades.

The Islanders need to end their tenure with the only building that they have called home with a memorable, exciting season that will leave Islanders fans remembering the glory days as opposed to holding on to the more recent, disappointing seasons.

This last and final season will be an emotional one for sure. It is paramount that the Islanders fan base walk out of that building for the last time with their heads held up high, ready to embrace the next chapter.

-Rob McGowan

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