SING IT: We Need A New Arena!

cgame at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Brian Schiazza

Here’s Long Island’s Captain Obvious statement: The New York Islanders are a crazy quilt history of crazy success and fiery failures, now squarely centered on their arena fate.

To be honest, watching the Islanders take to the Nassau Coliseum ice and win a meaningless game in dramatic fashion before 13,000+ on an NFL Sunday was kind of, sort of neat.

It was also mass masochism for fans who envision an LIRR-to-Brooklyn-less hockey shrine beyond this day — unless of course the team somehow winds up playing there on a temporary basis if the Belmont project for a new arena comes to fruition.

Until the game was announced months back, no one thought the Islanders would play a game there again.  But there was Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom and Clark Gillies being chased for autographs. There were Reebok jerseys, hats and such at deep discounts. The NHL Centennial Celebration tour truck boasted cool tech and Islander artifacts, while Lord Stanley’s Cup showed up to spawn a line that went seemingly to Hofstra.

Despite the sleek additions, coats of paint and new inner concourse around the rink, not much had changed.  Paul Cartier was there with his keys.  You could bask in the Bud-and-Marlboro, acid-washed 80s bombasticated glory of Long Island via the music selections – Madness’ “Our House”, Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and Foreigner’s “Feels Like The First Time.”  Somebody had to have a Trans Am in the tailgating sea of cars.

It all added up to the vibe of a audition/dress rehearsal for this building that everyone loves but can’t decide how to best develop.  I still loved it, but I felt like I DeLoreaned myself to a time where I couldn’t alter a thing about its course.

And there is still no LIRR stop, nor dearth of luxury seats that help sustain modern sports economics.

UNIONDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: during a preseason game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

This is a team that is running out of next years and destinations to cement a home rink not fraught with compromises.  They have one of the best players in the world in his walk year, who apparently loves it here.  But can you remember any team in any sport that have as many eggs in the basket with one player as the Islanders do with John Tavares – on top of this kind of arena situation?

It is a going to be a fascinating season to witness just for these two stories alone, but it got me to thinking about cumulative controversies and unmatchable glories that this team has had.  It’s quite the parabola.  The sagas the Islanders fan endures is fairly unique to sports. And it’s always in a little engine that could mode, despite being fully spoiled by the locomotive that was the under-credited 1980s dynasty.

I just could not help but see in my mind an infographic collage like this that we all sometimes see on t-shirts and posters but in song form. Specifically one by Long Island’s own Billy Joel.  So out poured the memories great and bad for a syllable-for-syllable tome you can proudly sing along to, Long Island! Maybe you’ll like this annoying song better now…


We Need A New Arena

John O Pickett, Oyster Bay, Town of Hempstead, Chip ’n chase

Sutter Brothers, Mick Vukota, Patty Lafontaine

Coliseum roof needs fixing, long term deal with Cablevision

North of sunrise, south of sunrise, Miroslav Satan


Gang of Four, Charles Wang, Sanjay Kumar, something’s wrong

Spano, The Drive For Five, OT goals by Bobby Ny

Kasparaitis, Bad teams, playoff streak at 19

Capuano, Bryan Trottier, Nassau County goodbye



We want a new arena

It was always brimming with the Isles winning

We want the Coliseum

No, we didn’t fill it, but then Nassau killed it


Alex Yashin, Malakhov, Yormark and Prokorov

Barclays fuller, F*#% Kirk Muller, Billy Smith chop

Roy Boe, Leads blown, Hall of Famers homegrown

Mad Mike, Ice Girls, rink around the block

Millsteins, Jones Beach, Brooklyn’s got a playoff team

David Volek, Ted Nolan, Dubielewicz does all he can

Garth Snow close to vest, Garden City, Steve Webb

Playoff race, Goal Shawn Bates, Meet me at the Lighthouse!





Gosman’s Dock, Jiggs is back, Eddie Westfall, Hamonic

Sparky the Dragon flies, Bill Torrey’s bow ties

Langevin, Howie Rose, John Tonelli big goals

Clark Gillies pummeled guys, all the way to Oceanside


Ziggy Palffy, honking cars, Butch Goring, Rock the barn

Heals ’n Flats, Morrow, Referendum no-go

J.P. at MSG, 15 years for Ricky D

Massapequa, SCORE-O, Bossy brings the mojo




Hampton Bays, Ho-Sang, Rangers jerseys in the stands

Doolin’s, Drouin, Nordique fan invasions

(Mark) Lawrence of Arabia, Finnish Mikko Makela

Neil Smith, Baldwin, Murray screws fans again

Strip malls, Chico Resch, Fight night with the Pittsburgh Pens

All the way, four years straight, what else do I have to say?




Gap Control, Fisherman, Arbour on the bench again

Slap Shot, Patchogue, Scoreboard-Gate, Turgeon

Easter Epic overtime, Potvin on the blueline

Isles at Adventureland, Postgame locker room with Stan

LI Double-R long ride, Nassau politicians lie

3-man nets, cheering vets, Belmont Park or Mets

Praying John Tavares scores, 8 years more on Island shores

Endless #IslesTwitter wars, I can’t take it anymore



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