It's been a while since we did one of these, so what better way to begin the day of the home opener of the final season in Uniondale than with some memories from fans?
Patrick Bedell is a 20-year-old Islander fan from Merrick. He's a self described lifelong fan and was kind enough to take a few minutes to discuss his favorite memories from the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.
IPB: What was the best game you've been to at Nassau Coliseum?
Bedell: I won’t be able to pick just one, so I will try to just narrow it down to my three favorites (in no particular order).
- Islanders vs. Maple Leafs (April 24, 2002 - Game 4): This entire series was so incredible. I was only seven years old at the time, but I can remember the moment when Shawn Bates scored on that penalty shot like it was yesterday. I remember celebrating the goal, and then just looking around the Coliseum amazed by the crowd and the noise. This was the first time I really saw the barn rock.
- Islanders vs. Penguins (February 11, 2011): I went to this game with a few of my closest friends, and at the time they weren’t big hockey fans so I remember telling them prior to the game all the storylines and explaining why this was going to be a fun game to be at…and boy, was I right. It was a wild game, and as I’m sure you all know, the Islanders beat the living crap out of the Penguins. Because of attending that game, those friends of mine have since become big Islanders fans.
- Islanders vs. Penguins (May 5, 2013 – Game 3):It could have been any of the three home games from that series, but I chose the first simply because it all felt so new again. It reminded me so much of that Isles-Maple Leafs series, the building just felt recharged and during that first game, I felt like that little kid at the Coliseum back in 2002 again.
Bedell: Oh man, this is a tough one. Again, there have been so many great games and moments, but for this I think I’ll be able to pick just one. It would
probably be the entire Islanders-Penguins series from 2013. Like any Islanders fan, it was obviously great to see our team back in the playoffs, but the timing of it for me was special. It was my freshman year of college, and I was living on campus at St. John’s University, so I wasn’t home much. Getting the chance to experience a playoff series again with my brother and uncle was special.
IPB: What will you miss the most about the Coliseum?
Bedell: Everything. I will miss everything about the Coliseum.
IPB: Do you remember your first game you ever attended?
Bedell: It would be pretty cool if I could remember back to when I was six months old, but unfortunately no, I cannot remember my first game.
IPB: What makes the Coliseum special to you?
Bedell: I am going to warn you here, this will be gushy…
The Nassau Coliseum is special to me for so many reasons. From the age of six months to now, I have looked at this building as my second home. You know back when you were young, when your parents made you remember your address and phone number in case of an emergency? Well, I had a different twist to it. Right along side all of those essential pieces of information, I had to remember my section at the Islanders games; section 311, row C, seats 7,8, and 9. Literally, it has been a home, and I am sure that many other Islanders fans would say the same thing. There is something so special and unique about the Coliseum. It surely isn’t flashy, but what it lacks in flash, it makes up for in charm.
Sure, it has been great to watch our beloved team, but one of the biggest reasons why the Coliseum will always hold a special place in my heart is because of the bonds its helped to nourish. Attending every game with my brother, John, and my Uncle Danny, has created memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world.