Barry Trotz remembers the Nassau Coliseum well from first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The then head coach of the Washington Capitals was trying to spoil the Islanders farewell season at the Coliseum as they prepared to move to Brooklyn. Now three years later, Trotz will play a different role when the Islanders return for 20 games this year, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.
The Stanley Cup-winning head coach will now be one of the good guys when the team returns to Nassau Coliseum.
“I love the Coliseum because (the fans) are on top of you,” Trotz told News 12 in a one-on-one sit down. “Even as an opposing coach they’re on top of you. If you want to get hit with a beer you can get hit with a beer, but they’re on top of you and you can feel them. You can feel their breath and that has a little bit of an effect.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re going back to the Coliseum. That’s where it should be. I think that’s where the fans want it.”
The Islanders will split time between the Nassau Coliseum and Barclays center over the next three years while a permanent home arena is built at Belmont Park. The Islanders were originally scheduled to play 12 regular-season games at Nassau Coliseum this year, but high demand helped convince the team to add eight more games.
They are slated to make their first appearance on December 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Islanders had spent the first 43 years of their existence calling Nassau Coliseum home before moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The decision to move came after years of failed attempts to secure the team a new home at the Coliseum site.
Despite the Coliseum’s many flaws, the venue had been revered by players — both visiting and home — and fans for its old-school feel and the atmosphere of the arena. During years the Islanders made the playoffs it was arguably the loudest building in the NHL and the fans became an added obstacle for opposing teams.
“I love the fact that it’s back on the Island,” Tortz said. “I love that it’s got an intimidating factor into it. Because the fans are right on top of you. More than anything they have very passionate fans here and I look forward to meeting them. I look forward to them helping us win games cause they are a factor. There’s no question about it”
Following the Islanders departure in 2015, Nassau Coliseum closed its doors and underwent a $165 million renovation and reopened with updated amenities, but fewer seats.
“I know they fixed it up,” Trotz said. “I hope they didn’t fix it up too much on the visitor’s side. We make it nasty for them.”
Before the Islanders return for regular season action at Nassau Coliseum in December, they will host the Philadelphia Flyers for a preseason game on September 16.