NEW YORK – The Barclays Center is newer, more elegant and has better dining options. Nassau Coliseum has a history.
When the New York Islanders split their home matches between two arenas this season, their fans were always clear about their preferences. They do not care about the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They still love the refurbished Coliseum, which is much more intimate and much more comfortable for fans of Islanders fans who stay focused on Long Island.
"Here is the ice hockey arena," said Peter Rotolo, who was in the Colosseum in January. "Barclays is like, the looks are terrible, the seats are terrible, it's a beautiful arena, but it's a basketball arena and a concert arena, it's never been done for hockey."
Fans like Rotolo never fully accepted the transfer of the Islanders to Brooklyn in 2015 after the franchise spent 43 years at the Colosseum and won four Stanley Cup championships in 1980-84. They complained about the bad opinions and many shadowy sites in the arena that was built for the Brooklyn Network and called for the team to return to the Coliseum in Uniondale, 30 miles and seemingly the world.
They gained their wishes with a unique arrangement because the NHL decided to split home matches between two very different places. The arrangement is expected to remain in place until the new Isle of Areas at Belmont Park, adjacent to the Race Track, is ready for the 2021-22 season. The construction is not planned until May.
Everything means there are two houses for the first place of the Islanders for at least the next two seasons and what's left of this.
"They should never leave," said David Levy, a fan of Melville who attended the Coliseum game with his son and two nephews. "We're going to Brooklyn, it's beautiful, but it's a very, very long-lasting impression … It's a lot more comfortable when it's destroyed when they just did not finish this arena."
The Islanders played their first 11 home games in Brooklyn this season and then began to spread 18 games on Dec. 1, splitting matches between places before closing their home program with the 12th Long Island finals. The last game at the Barclays Center will be on 16 February against Edmonton Oilers, although it has not been announced how playoff games will be played.
Josh Rosenberg, who lives about 10 minutes from the Colosseum, said he will go wherever he plays, but he prefers the Colosseum due to its proximity and atmosphere.
"I've come to Brooklyn since I first started," said Freeport resident at the Barclays Center. "I mean he's upset to pay another train transfer fee, but I'm a stubborn fan, I'll take the Coliseum every day, but I do not mind going." (The Colosseum), the better the atmosphere, it's still full-fledged, they're all cheering and real fans are there. "
The move of the team to Brooklyn was announced in 2012 after an unsuccessful attempt to secure public funding for the new Long Island arena, and zone approval was rejected for a privately funded development plan that included renovation to the Coliseum. It was announced that this is a 25-year deal and seems to secure the future of the Islanders in New York amidst the awareness that the team can move to another city.
Regardless of the cozy charm that many saw in the old Colosseum, the renovations were welcomed and the noise level remained deafening.
Participation data reflects fans' preference.
Seven games in the Colosseum this season saw an average of 13,568 fans with four 13,997 sales. Overall, Islanders are among the 31 NHL teams with an average attendance of 11,599.
Veteran coach Barry Trotz in his first year with the island after winning the World Championship in Washington last season has boasted the Coliseum as an old arena that puts fans closer to the ice and helps energize the home team. He claims that the arena is worth the season in comparison to elsewhere by 10-12 points.
So far, Islanders are 5-1-1 on Long Island and 9-6-2 in Brooklyn.
The layout requires that the two arenas equally distribute the games for three years. This season is Coliseum 21, while Barclays is 20. There is no doubt what division will be in the coming years.
BSE Global, which runs both arenas, shares the desire of fans to play all of their games in the Colosseum. The NHL faced a total 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 split.
Players like the Colosseum. The Arena and team practice at Eisenhower Park, which is 1.6 km away, is less than 30 minutes from the home. Compared to afternoon traffic in New York, the journey to Barclays Center can take more than 75 minutes. Some players are commuting to Brooklyn on Long Island Rail Road and then car services home.
"At the end of the day it does not matter where you play," said veteran Matt Martin. "You have to go out and do your job, take care of business and win hockey games. The overall approach does not change."