There’s a disappointing amount of crowd noise and fan involvement at New York Islanders home games.
I sat next to some foreigners at Wednesday night’s Isles game, and frankly, I was embarrassed.
The Islanders’ move to Brooklyn has had its well-documented woes. Some sight lines are blocked, there’s a car behind the boards, and the arena’s chief executive has made some outlandish comments.
While these are all critical points, they pale in comparison to the really big problem surrounding the stadium: the atmosphere is nonexistent, with the exception of the Blue and Orange Army’s occasional chants and outbursts.
Last season, I was chastised for claiming that I could’ve read a novel in my seat. The excuses were twofold: the Mets were playing a postseason game that night, and it was one of the first games at the new arena.
Sorry if it offends anybody, but neither of those excuses are applicable now. The atmosphere sucked against one of the best teams in the league on Wednesday night.
Now, I understand the circumstances. Brooklyn is the team’s home, and it’s much better than Quebec or Kansas City. Furthermore, it’s not a good look to publicly post about wanting to move to Queens or back to Nassau County, even before the practicality of it is questioned.
But without pointing fingers (this isn’t solely management or the fans’ fault), it’s necessary to address the elephant in the room: frankly, the atmosphere sucks.
“Let’s go Habs” chants permeated the air more than cheers for the home team. There were times when there was no noise palpable, besides the type of whispers only heard at a funeral hall, especially when there weren’t many shots on net.
This is what prompted those sitting adjacent to me — a lovely couple from Australia enjoying their first-ever hockey game — to wonder aloud if it’s usually louder than this. “Not unless it’s a playoff game or they’re playing the Rangers,” I sadly responded.
“Are other stadiums louder?” they clamored. “Yes,” I embarrassingly said. “Hopefully something’s going to change.”
Well, something’s gotta change. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.
Editor’s note: the most critical aspect of a franchise is its on-ice play. We’ve covered that at length, but sometimes other things, such as a stadium’s atmosphere, are important to have a discussion about, too.