ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders didn’t get the result they were hoping for in the first game at UBS Arena on Saturday, but they gushed about their new home following a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
“This is a new-school building that feels old school when you’re out on the ice,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “The fans are there, the acoustics in terms of the volume back at the benches is outstanding. The way that they set it up, it looks like the fans are on top of you just like the old Coliseum.”
The Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, from 1972-2015, then moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn before returning to the Coliseum full time at the start of last season. Construction on UBS Arena began in September 2019.
New York forward Kyle Palmieri, who was born in Smithtown, New York, about an hour east of UBS Arena, and played six seasons with the New Jersey Devils, said he was happy for the Islanders fans who now have a permanent home.
The attendance Saturday was 17,255, a sellout.
“Having grown up in this area, I’ve played in this division for the last six or so years, it’s something that these fans deserve a home like this,” Palmieri said. “It’s an incredible building. The atmosphere was electric.”
Video: Mangiapane nets two, Flames win 1st game at UBS Arena
The Islanders, who have lost five in a row, got right back at it here Sunday, hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is the first game for Toronto captain John Tavares at UBS Arena. The center played nine seasons for the Islanders and was their captain from the start of the 2013-14 season until he signed a seven-year contract with the Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2018.
“I think it’s obviously tremendous for the franchise and the fan base,” Tavares said Saturday. “It’s something that’s been kind of hanging over them for a long time, probably decades, and not only is it a new building and a home, but it’s their building. I think that’ll really improve that aspect of it and obviously with them being a contending team, a really good team people look at it as a constant favorite. Now I think it’s a testament to what they’ve done.”
The Islanders’ arena uncertainty hindered them in the free agent market for years. Now with a new arena, combined with consecutive appearances in the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, defenseman Scott Mayfield said he believes the foundation is here to have success for years to come.
“It’s huge,” he said. “We have a home now. We’ve kind of talked about it leading up to it, just what guys have gone through as far as Brooklyn, split seasons, closing out the Coliseum twice, all that stuff.
“It’s special to be home. I think the fans that were here tonight, pretty lucky to see what this building is. It’s special. It’s one of the best in the League now. The facilities for us are amazing. We enjoyed it, but we need to focus on winning games.”
The Islanders played the first 13 games this season on the road to allow construction of UBS Arena to be completed. They got off to a 5-2-2 start before losing the final four games of the stretch.
Even with the loss Saturday, center Brock Nelson said it’s hard not to be excited about the Islanders’ future.
“It’s exciting to be home,” he said. “It’s the start of something that’ll be great for us.”
NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report
Source : NHL News