What an experience inside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Saturday night for Game 4 of the second-round series between the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. You forget what live hockey is like since we have gone without for so long due to the COVID-10 global pandemic. But on Saturday night it was a return to normalcy as the Coliseum was packed to the rafters with screaming Islanders ready to lead their team to victory. And the crowd was influential in the Islanders 4-1 victory in Game 4 over the Bruins. The uniqueness of the Coliseum gives it an atmosphere not found anywhere in the NHL. Not to mention the fans are so passionate. It is a shame this building has to go, but Islanders fans are making the most out of this playoff run. And there will never be a place like Nassau Coliseum ever again.
Last of the Dying Breed
The Coliseum opened in 1972 and 2021 will be its final season. Now, this is like the fourth time this has been the final season in the Coliseum. UBS Arena is set to open in the fall in Belmont Park and you hope that place has a similar feel to what is going on in Nassau Coliseum right now. Today’s arenas are just too cookie-cutter and all have the same feel. That is why Nassau Coliseum is so unique. The low roof lets the sounds travel throughout the entire building. It is the smallest building in the NHL. But that is because the building was renovated when the Islanders went to Brooklyn. Which in my opinion they should have never left.
Yes the Coliseum is old, and the Islanders need a new building, but they have a distinct home-ice advantage. There is a reason the Coliseum is called “Fort Never Lose.” The Islanders feed off the crowd. The chants from the Islanders faithful echo through the building. And when the Islanders score it feels like the roof is going to come off the building.
— Jim Biringer (@JimBiringer) June 6, 2021
And this franchise has a unique following, to say the least. And that is not at all a bad thing. Islanders fans are some of the best fans in the league. The Islanders have a section for the Blue and Orange Army in section 229. What other team sets an entire section aside for their most diehard supporters. They sing, chant, bang drums, and get the Coliseum rocking before puck drop. It feels like you are at a soccer game. Even though they are coming over to the new arena, you can never replicate it in a new building. That is what makes the Coliseum so good.
Just think of any old building that is now gone. The uniqueness of each building gave that team a home-ice advantage. Go back to the Montreal Forum, Maple Leafs Garden, Chicago Stadium, Boston Gardens, The Igloo in Pittsburgh, and the list goes on. The new buildings just don’t have the same feel as those old buildings and it is a shame too.
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Going Out With A Bang
The Islanders faithful made sure there was going to be at least one more game at Nassau Coliseum. Trailing 2-1 in the series to the Bruins, it was a heavy physical game to start Game 4. The crowd had a lot to do with it. The players fed off the energy in the building and it translated to a great performance on the ice. Every hit was cheered. Every fight in the first period of Game 4, the crowd went nuts. The boos and chants towards the opposing fans in the building made the game even more enjoyable. Not to mention the celebrities in the crowd.
Die-hard Islanders fans Ralph Macchio was in the house. Along with Dan Feeney and the rest of the New York Jets. Feeney is a fan favourite for his mullet and the way downs beers and crushes them on his head. He gets the crowd going. Damion Woody was also in the house as well. While Feeney has been stealing the show, former Islanders legend Clark Gillies was there in Game 4. He was shown on the jumbotron and he pulled a Feeney chugging a beer and smashing it on his head. The place went nuts when that happened. It was literally a who’s who in the building on Saturday night. Many thought it was going to be the final game in Nassau Coliseum. But it was not.
Just imagine the atmosphere on Wednesday night for Game 6 inside the Coliseum regardless if the Islanders have the lead in the series or not. If you have ever never been to the Coliseum, you missed out. There will never be another place like Nassau Coliseum ever again.