For the Metro Division Travel Guide series, I gathered input from fellow FanSided staff writers and fans who have frequented the featured arena. We will take a look at each member of the Metropolitan Division and cover three basic areas: why you should make the trip, the best food and drink options before and after the game, and the best (and affordable) seating options in the arena. With all divisional play now occurring within the Eastern Time Zone, travel has never been easier for Blue Jackets fans!
For the third stop in the series, we will head out to Uniondale, NY for a visit to the New York Islanders. For some additional input, I turned to Andy Graziano and Eric Bordin of Eyes on Isles.
The Islanders have called the Nassau Coliseum home since they joined the NHL in 1972. Within a few years of their formation, the Islanders had already become one of the NHL’s elite teams. They won their first Stanley Cup in 1980 and three more would follow in the next three seasons. Besides being one of eight dynasties recognized by the NHL, the team won 19 consecutive playoff series between 1980 and 1984. While the years following the dynasty have not been kind to the Islanders, the team is on the rise once again. John Tavares has become the face of the franchise and is ranked among the top NHL players. After the 2013-2014 season, the Islanders will move off the island they have called home since 1972 and into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Distance From Nationwide Arena:
When the Blue Jackets Will Be There:
Saturday, Oct 5, 20013: 7PM
Sunday, Mar 23, 2014: 1PM
(Source: bluejackets.nhl.com )
Why It is Worth the Trip:
The Nassau Coliseum is one of the oldest, loudest arenas in the NHL. Is it perfect? No. But you could feel the history of the team in the arena. That same place is where 4 consecutive Cups were won. That same arena, that same ice. It has some of the best site lines in the NHL and won’t be around too much longer. When that place is full and rocking, there’s no place like it. We, as fans, have been suffering for a long time without success. We finally feel as if that has changed and you can feel it in the attitude of the crowd.
The Nassau Coliseum is coming up on its final year of existence, with the Isles planning to move to the Barclays Center in 2015. It truly is one of the loudest buildings in the league when the Isles are going, which they are right now. It also has some of the best sight lines ever for a hockey game and is very affordable. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much but the atmosphere inside is pure old time hockey.
Best Pre/Post Game Hangout:
You could go to Champions inside the Marriott, next to the Coliseum, before the game. That is where a lot of fans go before the game to get a quick bite to eat or a pre-game drink.
Where you should sit:
Affordability is in the 300 section. If you want the full Islanders experience, get seats in Section 329 and sit towards the top. You not only have a great ice view, but there you will find the blue and orange army. They are the Islanders equivalent of the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium. They are really there to chant and sing about the Islanders. Some chants are funny and some are about Long Island pride. They rarely are about the other team….unless it’s the Rangers. Then, all bets are off!
I mean it when I say there is not a bad seat in the house. Sight lines are fantastic. Personally, as I am on a budget like most are, I like to sit in the lower upper deck (rows 1-10), either behind the goal or between the blue lines. For me, it does not break the bank and I enjoy every minute of the game. Those tickets can usually be had on StubHub for under $50. I have sat 3rd row behind the glass against Montreal for $33 but that was an extremely rare find.
If you want to see Nassau Coliseum, this year is your last chance. Next season begins the farewell tour for the arena and the schedule gives Blue Jackets fans two chances to see the CBJ take to the ice against the Islanders in Long Island. While the move to the Barclays Center will bring about new interest in the team, especially with the improved play, it will be sad to see the old arena go. A great New York Times article about the move summed it up perfectly: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”.