NEW YORK – Barclays Center is newer, smoother and has better food options. Nassau Colosseum has its own history.
This season, New Yorkers have divided their home games between the two arenas, and their fans have always clearly understood their preferences. They don't care about the Barclays Center, located in Brooklyn. They still love the renewed Colosseum, which is much more intimate and much more convenient for the fan base of the islanders, which is still focused on Long Island.
“This is the hockey arena here,” said Peter Rotholo, who was at the Coliseum for the game in January. “Barclays are like, visibility is terrible, places are terrible. This is a beautiful arena, but it is a basketball arena and a concert arena. It was never made for hockey. ”
Fans, such as Rotolo, never completely took the Islanders to Brooklyn in 2015 after the franchise spent its first 43 years at the Coliseum, winning four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980 to 1989. They complained about the bad looks and the many obstacles to sitting in the arena that was built for the Brooklyn Networks, and demanded the team return to the Colosseum in Uniondale, 30 miles away, and apparently from the whole world.
They received their wish with a unique arrangement, as the NHL decided to divide home games between two very different venues. The agreement is expected to continue until the new Islanders arena at Belmont Park, adjacent to the race track, is ready for season 2021-22. Construction should not begin until May.
All of this means that there are two houses for first-class islanders for at least the next two seasons and what remains of this.
“They should never have left,” said David Levy, a fan from Melville who attended the game at the Coliseum with his son and two nephews. “We used to come here all the time. I'm going to Brooklyn, it's beautiful, but it's a very, very long ride. It is much more convenient. They blew it up when they didn’t just rebuild the arena here. ”
The Islanders played their first 11 home games of the season in Brooklyn, and then began the 18-match series on December 1 in which they divide the games between venues before closing their home schedule with the last 12 on Long Island. The last game at the Barclays Center will take place on February 16 against Edmonton Oilers, although it has not yet been announced how any playoff games will be played.
Josh Rosenberg, who lives 10 minutes from the Colosseum, said he would go wherever the team played, but preferred the Colosseum because of its closeness and atmosphere.
“I came to Brooklyn from the very beginning,” said a Freeport resident at the Barclays Center. “I mean, it's terrible to pay an extra fee to go by train, but I'm a die-hard fan. I will take the Colosseum any day, but I do not mind going here. (The Colosseum has) much better. It's packed all the time, everyone is greeting, and real fans are there. "
The move to Brooklyn was announced in 2012 after an unsuccessful attempt to secure state funding for a new Long Island arena, and the zoning claim for a privately funded development plan was rejected, which would include repairs to the Coliseum. It was announced as a 25-year contract and, apparently, secured the future of the islanders in New York amid talk that the team might move to another city.
No matter how cozy the charm many saw in the old Coliseum, the renovation was welcomed, and the noise level remained deafening.
Attendance figures reflect the preferences of fans.
In seven games at the Coliseum this season, the Islanders gathered an average of 13,568 fans with four sales of 13,917 people each. They played an average of 10,788 without sales at the Barclays Center, which has a capacity of 15,795. In general, the islanders are the last among the 31 NHL teams with an average attendance of 11,599.
Veteran coach Barry Trots, in his first year with the Islanders after winning the championship in Washington last season, was delighted with the Colosseum as one of the old-style arenas that put fans closer to the ice and helps energize the home team. He claims that the arena brings 10-12 extra points per season compared to others.
So far, the Islanders are 5-1-1 on Long Island and 9-6-2 in Brooklyn.
The agreement calls on the two arenas to divide the games evenly over three years. This season, the Colosseum receives 21, and Barclays – 20. It is unclear what the collapse will be in subsequent years.
BSE Global, which manages both arenas, shares the fan's wishes for the team to play all its games at the Coliseum. The NHL opposed the full return of the islanders to the Colosseum, mainly due to the fact that it had less capacity than any other arena in the league, but agreed to a split.
Players like the Colosseum too. The arena and team training center in Eisenhower Park are less than 30 minutes from the hotel, a mile from the hotel. For comparison, the afternoon traffic in New York can make a trip to the Barclays Center for more than 75 minutes. Some players get to Brooklyn on Long Island Rail Road, and then take a car home.
“In the end, it doesn't matter where you play,” said veteran forward Matt Martin. “You have to go there and do your job, do business, and win hockey games. In general, the approach does not change. "