1. Farewell, Ol’ Barn
After 43 seasons at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the New York Islanders departed to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to the dismay of many. The Ol’ Barn closed its doors on the New York Islanders on April 25, 2015, two days before the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
John Tavares, Nikolai Kulemin and Cal Clutterbuck all netted goals for the Isles in Game six, as the team thankfully finished an era with a victory.
“The people made us feel like such a part of Long Island,” Bryan Trottier said. “We were from all over — different parts of Canada and the United States, a few guys from Sweden. Maybe they felt a little bit like we had a little something getting Long Island on the map or built their identity up.
Uniondale, New York — which isn’t a large blimp on the map for most players — catered to the franchise for forty-three years. There, players forged relationships with fans that no other city could cater to.
“We felt we were probably a bigger reflection of Long Island, which is, I think, just one of acceptance (and) wonderful loyalty,” Bobby Nystrom said.
“I think that is something that I really liked more than anything else about being on the Island. We had a parade down Hempstead Turnpike. That’s what we wanted. Most of us came from small towns and so we really identified with the community.”
As I wrote in How I Will Remember It: A Eulogy For A Barn, the Coliseum was arguably the ugliest stadium in professional sports and was a self-proclaimed $#*!#/$. But there was an authentic feel that only Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum could produce:
“I think it’s one of the most personable arenas,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “I think people are just genuine fans. They’re not there to take somebody out to the game to try to impress them. They’re there as a community cheering on a team. It’s a good atmosphere.”