This Long Islander Is Saddened By The Islanders Relocation-Bruce’s Thought Of The day
No I am not an Islander fan. In fact I grew up hating them. More on that in a minute. But I am a Long Islander. While the move to Brooklyn will be good for the franchise, the loss of Long Islands only pro sports franchise does sting a little.
The move had to be done, that doesn't mean you have to like it. The Islanders arena was a pile of concrete ugly and a dump. The Nassau Coliseum long outlives it's usefullness. It was dank, ugly, cold, and just dilapidated. A pile of ugly grey concrete.
Inside the food was awful. Couldn't tell the difference between a hot dog and a sausage. The press food was revolting. They used to serve us Spaghetti and something they called meatballs. I swear Chef Boyardee was the cook. The sauce was sticky. I swear it was ragu! Outside you would walk to you're car and I swear you would freeze with winds that could blow you over.
I went to my 1st ever hockey game at the place us Ranger fans called the Mosileum. It was Isles vs Canadiens in 1972 with my dad. The Isles were a brand new franchise and I was a brand new hockey fan at the age of 8. Montreal was in the midst of another great season. That's all the Habs had was great seasons. They smoked the Isles that night like 6-0. I became a Rangers fan and remain to this day a Rangers fan.
I hated those great Islander teams. All of them. The Trottiers, Potvins, Borne's, Bossy, Goring,and especially especially Billy Smith. Oh we hated him. Used to bring the roof off at MSG with chants of B-iiiiii-llll-yyyy B-iiiiii-llll-yyyy. We hated him and he hated us. I admired and really came to respect Al Arbour the great coach of that dynasty. The Islanders were the 1st pro team I covered when I got into the Sports media business. they were great for co-operation. I grew to really love Arbour but never the team. I did enjoy their run with Kelly Hrudey and David Volek and those guys but they were never my team. they were Long Islands team though and it is sad they are leaving.
All my friends were Islanders fans. All of them!!! Patrick Joyce, Eddie Perez. Willie Perez. So many more. My goombas growing up. I got my tail kicked many times over the Ranger-Isles battles. I remember like it was yesterday the year Don Maloney scored a tying goal in the 1980 playoffs with a high stick that tied the game late and sent it into OT. Kenny Morrow who just finished winning the Gold medal with the US Olympic team scored the game winner from an absurd angle beating Glenn Hanlon and my Rangers in game 5 ( Those days the 1st round was 3 of 5) and the Rangers got sent packing. I got my Butt kicked so bad by my boys. I was literally Black and Blue. it was pay back from the previous season when my Rangers eliminated the hated Isles in 1979 and made it to the Cup Finals. losing to that Montreal team in 5 games.
The Islanders were the 1st team I covered as an intern at a Long Island TV station. I enjoyed the press box but not the food. Never the food.
No I never rooted for Long Islands team, yet being a Long Islander they served the area well. 4 Straight cups. All made me mad but they were Long Islands boys.
Then it all went south for the most part. The team has stunk mostly for over 25 years. wasted draft picks. bad free agent signings. Dubious ownership in my opinion. The lousy Mike Millbury as GM. When a local columnist here in the capital Region writing his piece in the Times Union paper suggested a few months ago that the Isles should move to Albany many met it with a scoff. I didn't cause I knew the Isles were in trouble and the arena was trash. I never took it seriously mind you but it was interesting.
Now the Isles are off the Brooklyn to play in the home of the Nets. I still don't root for the Isles and find it fitting that the Barclays Center will house 2 teams that have always been desperate for media attention and always the red headed step children of the metro area. Always in the shadows of the Knicks and Rangers. The stakes are higher now and both will get that attention they so crave. The Islanders-Rangers-Devils battles will be more fierce with all 3 within miles of each other.
I personally will not be happy if they take the name Islanders with them. They are no longer Islanders but brooklyn-ites. I understand why they left but Long Island is lesser today. they won't get a new team but they should leave the name for Long Islanders to remember. They won't and I will dislike them more for it. I can't wait till my Rangers continue to pummel them when they move to Brooklyn in 3 years. I wonder what the last 3 seasons, maybe 2 if there is no season will feel like for a team that is leaving although not going far. But they are leaving and should leave the Islanders name behind.