"Welcome to the game." An usher greeted me, handed me my ticket, and I was standing inside Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the first time.
|The actual ticket from my first game|
It was October 28, 2001 and my father and I were going to an Islanders game, my first one ever. Since I was only 7 years old, I didn't really have much of an idea of what hockey was or who the Islanders were. It was the beginning of what would become a life-long passion.
After an usher showed my father and I our seats, I sat down and got my first glimpse of the Coliseum ice. For a 7 year old kid, that sight was pretty mesmerizing. When warm-ups began I sat in my seat fixated on the team wearing the cool green jerseys. Not knowing any better, I thought those guys were the good guys. Later on, when they entered the ice for the game, I started cheering. Only then my father told me I was rooting for the Islanders opponent, the Dallas Stars. (They do have a good jersey though.) Then, my father explained to me that the team in white jerseys was the good guys, they were the New York Islanders. (Plain, traditional jerseys, I personally like the new ones.) From then, I was an Islander fan.
Most of the game is a blur to me, but I do remember some of it. I remember that when the Islanders scored, a loud annoying horn blasted and everyone in the stadium went crazy. I remember being annoyed by the horn, and I also remember at my next game a few months later, I knew the words to the song perfectly.
The game went by, and the score was 2-2 going into sudden death overtime. Remember when there were ties? I sure do. If nobody scored in the overtime, the game would have ended 2-2. But then Islanders captain Mike Peca ended it quickly. The Isles won it in overtime 3-2 and the place went bonkers. (Don't believe me, the box score is right HERE.)
On my way out, an usher, who must have been told by my dad that it was my first game, handed me a puck. Now looking at it, it is nothing more than a blank black puck with an Islanders logo sticker on it, as you can see. It was a great souvenir to end a great day.
That day was nearly a decade ago, and that season was a big year for the Islanders. They made the playoffs for the first time in a while. In the playoffs Shawn Bates delivered one of the most famous moments in Isles history. Everyone on that team no longer plays for the Islanders, and current GM Garth Snow was sitting on the bench watching.
Now, a decade later the Isles are facing an uncertain future, but one think is for sure, there will be hockey RIGHT NOW on the Island at the Coliseum. Let's go win one for the team a decade ago that just couldn't.
Lets Go Islanders!!!!