As the season comes to a close and the Islanders off season quickly approaches, the issue of the new arena will once again become a talking point. I decided to take a little road trip over to Jersey and check out the new arena.
In my life I have been fortunate enough to visit several Baseball stadiums across the U.S. . In my travels I made it a point to visit Wrigley Field in Chicago. I am not a baseball numbers guy but I do believe it is the oldest stadium in the MLB. If it isn't, well it certainly has the feel of that.
Wrigley Field is everything you would expect from a classic stadium. In the mens room you urinate in a trough. The structural beams interfere with your view of the game and just about every other aspect of that place looks vintage, maybe restored a bit but kept the same way as the original.
With all the "outdated" aspects of that place, you feel like you are sitting in a piece of history. You feel the legacy left behind from the players of way back when.
When I walked into the Prudential Center, aka "The Rock", I was amazed at the beauty of the facility. So much walking room, nice lighting, organized personnel. It was really an amazing sight. I took my seat behind Broduer, watched the pre-game ceremonies. I was so attracted to the initial visuals I absorbed. I took my place in my cushioned seat and the game began.
Something funny happened while I was at the game though. I started to really miss the NVMC. I know I am probably the only person who wants or dares to say that. I can't help it. Something just didn't feel right.
There was such a lack of heritage in this place. The game of hockey was overshadowed by the technology. Sure they chanted, they cheered, and yes some of the special features were very cool. They used pretty much every chant we use, they have their own Rangers suck chant (which was pretty cool), instead of Ice girls they have Devils dancers. So basically there was more aisle space and brighter lights. I don't know if I feel comfortable with sacrificing my teams history for louder music.
When you walk into the Coliseum, you are walking through the same doors as your parents did when they were going to the Dynasty games. You are sitting in the same seats as they did when they went. When your father starts telling you about the good times, you can actually picture the settings is your own head. You look around and feel the possibility of having the same happiness everyone once shared in this same building when they had a winning team to cheer for.
I wouldn't trade the aisle space and lighting for our history, EVER. We may not have all the glitz that other arenas have, that being said, many teams don't have the history WE have. We need upgrades, we need renovations. This is our home. Remember what you have now because once its gone, it ain't coming back.
We are lucky enough to have what we have and our team shouldn't even consider moving because of the facility and the real fans shouldn't stay away because of that either. This is hockey. This game is about competition and winning. Everything else is second to that. In todays age people seem to lose sight of that. We are so caught up in the trivial things in life. Image, technology and the idea that bigger must be better we lose our roots and tradition. We see it in our communities, we see it in our schools. We see it in religion and in family. Lets hold on to something. When this team turns around, you won't care about anything in the place other than the team on the ice. Things won't get better just because our arena is brand new. If we are still losing there will still be financial problems and unhappy fans not showing up for the game. Lets focus on hockey. Lets focus on the game we love for so many reasons. Lets support this team and lets watch them grow and win. If they can do that then other improvements will be made. First the people need to show up wherever this team is playing and support them. Thats what fans do.
By the way, since I had the cushion on my chair, my jacket wouldn't fit behind me!
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