It’s finally come to the time for which fans of the New York Islanders need to embrace the Barclays Center and Brooklyn as their new home.
By Michael Iuzzini
I was once told a new house takes one year to become a home. The New York Islanders are going to have to hope that this will not be the case as they transition to the greatest considerable change in organizational history.
This mutation from Long Island to Brooklyn has weighed on everybody involved all of last season. The thought of not taking the Southern State Parkway to the Meadowbrook, or turning off Hempstead Parkway into the Nassau Coliseum parking lot felt like it was a bad dream.
No longer hearing the echoing of horns blaring from every vehicle after wins especially big wins, “let’s go Islanders,” is an unacceptable conclusion.
The parking lot thick with traffic as we all made our way towards the exits to get to our respected routes home. For me the big decision was, do we jump back on the Southern State Parkway or just stay away from traffic and take the calm drive home of Ocean Parkway back to Babylon.
Even when the Islanders were eliminated by the Washington Capitals, the reality that Brooklyn was now going to be home most likely, for many, did not set in.
The entire final season of the Isles playing at the Nassau Coliseum was full of past players making their final appearances. It showcased fans and the NHL sharing their own personal anecdotes about their experiences at the Barn.
The Islanders gave their fans a solid season that revitalized the organization. It made the final year on Long Island memorable, putting the team back on the NHL map.
The outcry from fans about the move and the fact that Long Island is no longer home has been voiced ever since Charles Wang pulled the trigger on the deal.
From that point on, fans have been through a roller coaster ride of emotions. The finger-pointing at what politicians let this happen has become old and too late.
The reality now is that Brooklyn is home. Even as much as some fans may hate the thought of taking a train to an Islanders game, the only choice now is to welcome the change.
Sure, there is going to be a new way of life for Islander fans pregame rituals. There is a new Islander-universe coming and not one single person can predict what it will be like.
Fans, especially the locals out East on the Island have made it a point in stating that they will not make the added trek to Brooklyn. Still, with all of that anger and hostility of the move, it is going to be very hard for fans to stay away.
The team is knocking on the door of being a solid Stanley Cup contender. Moves have been made, players have been signed, and the youth movement is in place.
Long Island is a commuters haven. Many locals make the daily trip to work on the Long Island Railroad. I can understand the agonizing thought of getting home from work after a long commute, to only get back on a train to get to a game is misery at its best. The simple fact is, Rangers fans have done it forever. Due to that fact, as Islanders fans, we know that we can obviously do the same.
That is not a jab Rangers fans, it is an eye opener for Islanders fans. The Isles fan entire way of life has changed forever.
The train may seem like a tedious unpleasant journey, but let’s take the glass is half-full approach. Picture being on a train packed with Islander fans celebrating a win. That is a reality I can envision.
The team is going to need to adjust. They’ll need their fans now more than ever to make this transformation from Long Island suburb to the Borough of Brooklyn.
This new way of Islander hockey is going to be tough for “everyone.” Having said that, right now is the time to help in the transition. The time the team needs you, the fans, most.
It will be the fans who are going to be the deciding factor in executing the emotion of the Barclays Center in being a home.
Winning at home is what wins seasons and titles. For the players, as much as they try, Barclays won’t feel like home until the fans light the place up, get loud, and stand behind their Isles.
Even as confident the team is going into the season there is an uncertainty that is surrounding the organization.
That uncertainty is the unfamiliar environment the team is heading into. The only action which can change that, and change that fast, are the fans filling the seats and making noise.
Hockey is in the air. Islanders fans must jump right into this new era of fandom and be the best sixth skater they can be.
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