Legends, Friends & Fans Soak In New York’s New UBS Arena
The Cross Island Parkway was experiencing delays on Saturday from about 3:30pm until about 7:30pm. It was not a surprise with the New York Islanders opening the doors to their new facility. The wait was finally over. The puck was dropping at the UBS Arena located at Belmont Park at 7pm.
Islanders fans had been waiting since 2015 to finally have a place of their own. In 2014 NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared that the Nassau Coliseum wasn't suitable for an NHL franchise. After former Isles owner Charles Wang's "Lighthouse Project" was shot down, the team moved to Brooklyn and the Barkley Center. The rest is a miserable history that finally ended on Saturday.
The doors to the UBS Arena opened at 5pm and New York Islanders legends from their four Stanley Cup teams of the early 1980's walked the corridors and welcomed fans to their new home, that included fan staples such as "The Blue Line Deli" and the "Offside Tavern." The inclusion of businesses like that are examples of the Islanders being a very conscious franchise.
Fans raced from one area to the next to check out the replacement for the "Colly" or "the old barn" whichever you prefer. According to an article by Laura Albanese of Newsday, the fans are in love with the new building, "It's absolutely beautiful," said Ed Martin, 52, of Plainview, a season ticket holder since 1993. "They did an incredible job. I'm going to miss going to the bathroom in the old port-a-potties in the [Nassau] Coliseum, but this place is fantastic. ... We deserved it. We waited a long time."
Within minutes of the doors opening, fans decked out in royal blue and orange embraced each other in joy, celebrating their new home, chanting "Let's Go Islanders."
Though the COVID19 list hampered Islanders didn't get the job done, losing to the Calgary Flames 5-2, the fans did. They soaked in. The New York Islanders' fans finally have a brand new home.
And they are going to enjoy every minute of their new barn.