Islanders begin new chapter at UBS Arena: ‘A new school with an old school feel’

ELMONT, NY – Let’s start with some quizzes.

When you are sitting with your friends drinking some IPAs in the not too distant future and you want to test their hockey knowledge, ask them this: Who scored the first goal at the UBS Arena in Belmont Park? Answer: Brad Richardson.

“It’s great. It’s a beautiful building. Obviously, the fans loved it,” the Flames forward said of his 109th career goal (second against Calgary) while also mentioning that he It’s been a quiz answer for 30 years that’s been a hot topic in the room. “Fun building. Always a good crowd here and then, obviously, it’s nice to score the first goal.”

This is the first of many firsts at the new Island People’s building. Calgary, backed by Jacob Markstrom, took its first win in the lid-lifting game; The 5-2 scoreline also saw Andrew Mangiapane score a brace to give him 14 goals for the season (13 on the road). Brock Nelson’s first of two goals was the first for the home team.

But while there are two points to be claimed, the real action is everywhere but the ice because as it is said: When one chapter ends, another begins – and Saturday marked a new beginning for the team. of Long Island and their fans.

On June 23, 2021, no one knows if the last words – cigarettes and beer two is used in every story, by the way – was written about the Colosseum Nassau. The team won 3-2 in extra time That night forced Game 7 of their Stanley Cup semi-final against the Lightning; however, an encore is not included in the tag like New York has lost and the doors are officially closed at the Old Barn.

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Now, after 150 days of sitting, waiting and wishing for a new home (the last one being a long house for believers), the Islanders have finally opened up the UBS Arena.

“It’s unbelievable. I think I’ve spent the better part of my life waiting for this moment. I cried once today while watching the highlights about (team owner) Jon Ledecky,” said Jon Ledecky. what happened last night and the fact that he mentioned that he spoke to 5-6,000 fans and knew that one of them and knew that he asked for input, it feels really special to here at last,” said fan John Ballantyne from Bay Shore, NY

Fans flocked to the new building located right next to Belmont Racecourse after the team spent its first month on the road and went home 5-6-2.

“The fans deserve a home like this. It’s an incredible building and the atmosphere is like electricity and obviously not the results we were looking for but our fans. appeared,” Kyle Palmieri said.

In total, 17,255 fans showed up. They came to inspect the new warehouse that cost $1.1 billion to build. They arrive at a building covered in orange and blue and a building that pays homage to the past. And the past also came into play when several Islander greats including Bob Nystrom, John Tonelli, Denis Potvin and Pat Flatley showed up to join the ceremony.

“The fans, they’ve sacrificed so much over the years, put in so much effort, knowing that maybe this will happen at some point,” four-time Champions League champion Ken Morrow told Sporting News, a reference to the long-awaited rink. next to the Colosseum with the Barclays sandwiched between for several seasons. “That’s the person I’m happiest with being a fan, because I think that makes – when this happens – it makes everything so much better because you’ve had to go through so much to get here. .”

The old arena has many good memories. There’s a Stanley Cup clincher outside of Nystrom’s hours; Bossy’s 50 out of 50; Al Arbor returns with the number 1,500 coach game; John Tavares match winner 2013. You never forget the past, but it’s time for a change.

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“A building designed entirely for hockey,” says Happauge, NY, native John Yerkes, who is wearing a Jean-Gabriel Pageau jersey and smiling. “Old Barn is a great place but it has seen its time and a modern building like this would be great for the fans and just elevate the game.”

UBS Arena has four Stanley Cup banners and retired numbers hanging from the rafters but it’s definitely a difference, a shiny new home to make some new memories. Gone are the loops that one could take on in obscured singular debate among Long Island colleagues during the break. Now there are two levels with space to wander and stare at the murals. Want a beer? Don’t worry about going during the action as there are several locations where you can see the game – including a great attraction from the Tailgate Bar.

But the new exploits took something special, something unique from “Fort Never Lose.” Yes, they brought the organ in, but something even more important was included in the UBS Arena: that notoriously low ceiling. That ceiling, which generates sound waves from end to end (albeit more than 3 feet tall), which hugs and encapsulates buzzing fans and bounces back at everyone inside, is there.

As noted by Flames bench director Darryl Sutter: “The building was amazing. The crowd carried the weight. The whole match was a lot of energy in the building and we fought.”

That’s right, when fans cheer as their team hits the ice for warmups, it’s huge. When the Islanders stormed out of the tunnel to start the game, it exploded. When they chanted “Let’s Go Islanders” and “Bossy” for the Great Islanders battling cancer, it resonated. When the fans sang the national anthem from start to finish, it was all encompassing. When Richard Panik knocked out Brandon Tanev near the Flames net just 43 seconds into the match, there was a roar. And when Nelson scored, it was jarring.

But most of all, it feels familiar.

“What a great atmosphere. It’s a new building that feels like an old school when you’re on the ice,” noted Islanders coach Barry Trotz. “The fans are there. The sound of the volume on the benches is outstanding. The way they’ve set it up makes it look like the fans are on top of you like the old Colosseum. It really is. a good evening in terms of what the fans have brought, what the building has brought and I think what the players have brought.”

New York lost the building door opener like they did back in 1972 when the Colosseum was christened which also happened to be against the Flame but they were stationed in Atlanta at the time. there. In 2021, the Islanders also had to battle COVID when Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Anthony Beauvillier joined the protocols on Saturday, joining three boys – Anders Lee, Ross Johnston and Josh Bailey – who were already there.

Although the Islanders may not have had their captain (Lee) and longest player (Bailey) open their new building, there are 40 more competitions that will take place there this season alone; lots of chances to get that first win. And for all the stressed and worried loyalists that losing their first game at a new complex is bad luck, just a quick reminder: yes, they lost the opener on the field. Coliseum home but the Islanders went on to win four Stanley Cups from 1980-83 and kept three of them at home.

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