Forever an Islanders fan

Islanders

Still feeling down about the New York Islanders loss on Monday to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.

It was a game that could have gone either way.

What is remarkable to me is just how much players believed they were going to win the Stanley Cup. Some were in downright shock about the loss after the game when doing interviews with the media. They thought they were not only going to win Game 7 but go on to win the Cup. I like that winning attitude.

What made the loss more discomforting was that the Isles played their final game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.

Opened in 1972, it was the only home of the Islanders who were the last dynastic team in the NHL. While the Oilers won 4 Cups in 5 years, they only managed two Cup wins in a row, while the Isles had four consecutive.

The arena was built on Mitchel Field, which was a former Army/Air Force base. It was dedicated to those who lost their lives in service to their country.

The players made this a special year, exceeding all expectations.

Last Saturday afternoon, they played their final game at the Coliseum.

Although my son had a hockey awards event and party, I opted to stay home and watch the game. While it was a hard decision, it was one I’m glad I made.

It was incredibly exciting to watch the game and I can’t imagine what it was like in the arena. Coach Jack Capuano was hoarse after the game because he had to yell at his players so they could hear him. That’s how loud it was in there all game long.

It turned out to be the final game at the venue and it was a victory. The players saluted the fans after the game and it was a highlight.

The game was intense, hard-hitting and skillful. One of the best games I’ve ever watched.

I’ve been an Islanders fans since I was a little girl. My father taught one of the Islanders, Wayne Merrick.

I loved their goalie, Chico Resch and had his hockey card when I was young.

As hard as it was for me to see the team lose Monday, it was even sadder to listen to the players as they cleared out their lockers for the last time at the venue, chock full of memories.

“It’s going to be tough to say good-bye to this rink,” says Isles defenceman Thomas Hickey, who remembers walking through the seats when he first arrived at the building and looking up to see the historic banners.

“I’ll never forget it,” defenceman Calvin de Haan says of the building and the fans this final season. “It’s kind of depressing. It’s a second home. We spent a lot of time in this building. You learn to love it. It’s not the most glamorous building, but it’s home.”

Here’s more from forward Cal Clutterbuck as he talks about scoring the final goal in the arena and what the building, fans and atmosphere meant to the team:

http://video.islanders.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=756&id=817004&lang=en

On a happy note today, John Tavares has been named a Hart Trophy finalist as most valuable player.

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