Unidale, New York-Just after 5 pm Eastern Time on June 17, the sun was shining on Long Island. There are more than three hours before the ice hockey drop in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup semi-finals, but this has not stopped the faithful of the Islanders from starting their own pre-match ceremonies in the parking lot of the Nassau Stadium. Some people set up tents, while others set fire to grills. When the adult drink is turned on, the car radio and nearby bands are playing WAR’s “Low Rider” music.

“This is the most incredible farewell we have ever hoped for, playing hockey for the Stanley Cup tournament in June,” said Alex Klein, who wore an Islander vest in front of his Jets-turned-Islanders decorated minibus . “There is nothing better than this.”

Of course, it would be better to have a place in the Stanley Cup final and have a chance to win the team’s fifth championship. It has been 38 years since boys in orange, white and blue sportswear sipped from the greatest trophy in sports. This happened on the same ice. After Ryan Pulock made a last-second save in the fourth game on Saturday, the team raised a stick to pay tribute to the fans and achieved a dramatic result. Behind 3-2 in the 6th game On Wednesday, this forced a winner-takes-all showdown.

“The overtime building smells like cigarettes, now it smells like beer,” Winger Anthony Beauvillier says After celebrating the overtime win, beer cans (some are empty, some are not) are thrown on ice. “That place is going crazy.”

Now, wait (as the great Tom Petty once said, the hardest part): The result of Friday’s 7th game will determine whether Wednesday’s game is actually the last game in the building-officially , The last.

The building nicknamed “Fort Never Lose” should actually be called “Fort Never Close”. It always seems to have the last dance. Back in 2015, it is now the second oldest building in the NHL and closed its doors after the Islanders won another 6th game before losing to the Capitals in the 7th game. And, as we now know, the subsequent move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was temporary, and the back and forth between the two arenas began until the team decided to hold all the 2020-21 games in the old barn.

But in 2022, the gates of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Stadium will definitely be closed.

“It is bittersweet to see them leave. I am happy that they have a new home, but I am not happy that I am leaving here,” said Victoria Dee, a member of the Blue Oranges, who is a supporter group of the team. What was section 329 before the 2015-17 renovation, and now it (technically) is 229.

Starting next season, the team will play at the UBS Arena in Belmont Park. Although the new skating rink was designed to mimic the atmosphere of the gymnasium—the low ceiling that made the barn unique is only three feet higher in the new building—but some things in the old hockey stadium are newly excavated and cannot be fully replicated.

more: Fans poured ice with beer cans after victory in overtime

“Very unique atmosphere. The enthusiasm of the fans. How loud it became. The sight of the old barn. This is a great place to watch a hockey game,” said Michael Blizzard, who participated in the third game with his brother-Law Jonathan and Thomas Lovaglio.

If you have never been to the building on the Hempstead Turnpike, which is now an aluminum building, this atmosphere has long been loved by NHL players and fans.

“For me, this is the loudest building I have ever played,” Sean Bates said after agitating from the crowd outside the arena, and often reminiscent of him in the 2002 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The winning penalty in Game 4 of the series. Maple leaf. “This is very effective for the team. Once the fans support the team, it will motivate them to get better and better, and it works very well.”

It worked in the 4th game (New York also won 3-2), especially in the 6th game, the team fell 2-0 and started to win a city halfway through the third quarter. If you look around at that time, there doesn’t seem to be a soul — 13,917 believers — sitting on the rest of the road. As moms, dads, and children of all ages pushed their team to the edge, they shouted, “Let’s go to the islanders” voices began to rise. Their hope for a new day, the deafening roar enveloped everyone in the building.

“It’s incredibly loud. We bring noise in every game. It’s electric. The building actually vibrates and shakes,” Craig Richardson commented after showing off two Islander tattoos, one of which was a logo Sex round sign.

There have been some depressions in that building and its faithful followers, but there have also been some important moments.

After breaking into the NHL in 1972, in the eighth year of the club’s establishment, the Islanders won the Stanley Cup with Bob Nistrom’s overtime goal.

“I took a scalpel from the trainer’s room and sat in the bathroom. I actually cut a notch in my cane to indicate that I was going to score a goal,” Nistrom recalled. The number 23 ball is hung on the rafters. Phone with sports news. “Sure enough, after the wonderful performance of Lorne Henning and John Tonelli, I was lucky to score a goal.”

He later added: “We cried, we just congratulated each other in the corner. This is just a magical moment. This is something that none of us will forget.”

(Getty Images)

Nor will the fans, including EJ Hradek of the NHL Network, who grew up in Westchester County and cheered the players from Long Island in the building that day.

“When they scored, this place just broke out, I just remember yelling’It’s coming in!’ When a team wins the championship, you go crazy,” he said. Hradek had only one regret behind the deadly net in the 300s: “This is such a crazy environment, fans jump over the glass… I am a little angry with myself, I should run down and jump.

“[But] Then I remembered that the cup came out of the tunnel. There was not much pomp and situation. It came out, almost like it was suspended in the air. “

The 1980 victory was the first of four consecutive victories between Nystrom and the Islanders-Nystrom appreciated this because he had never been in a cup game on ice on May 24-only the 1982 The cup was won on the road. Nystrom mentioned that in the absence of fans, Vancouver’s victory is different.

“I think when you are in the building, everyone is like family,” Seth Goldnick said. “I don’t think you will have a corporate atmosphere like in many other cities. These are real, just ordinary blue-collar people, just going to a hockey game.”

Although those years were the only years that ended after drinking the Holy Grail of the trophy, the memory in the building has disappeared. In 1981, Bossi scored 50 goals in 50 games; Bryan Trottier scored 8 points (5 goals and 3 assists) against the Rangers in 1978; Al Arbour coached the 1500th unforgettable game; John · John Tavares’ winning goal in 2013 ensured the Islands’ first home playoff victory in 11 seasons and his As a member of the Maple Leafs team, an unforgettable return In 2019.

Now, this is the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“This building is a bit hard to kill,” Hradek told Sports News. “It has a lot of characteristics, a lot of memories and a lot of history. At the end of the day it will be different, even if they are going to enter a beautiful new facility, it will not be the same, for example, the comfort of fans and players because of It’s such an old school building.”

If this is true for Coli, it is a gift for a building that is as blue-collar as the fans walking to it. (Damn it, even the ice team wears blue overalls and helmets.) Last year was not easy for anyone, but the heroic performance in Game 4 and overtime victory in Game 6 helped Islanders fans increase their memory bank.

“It’s kind of, basically, in the center of Long Island, so, that’s why it’s our place, it’s our barn.” said Charlie McCannulla, who wore the 1992-93 Steve Thomas jersey. Blue and orange wigs and blue and orange beards, when asked what makes the stadium so special.

Yes, fans. This building is made of bricks and is an inanimate object. It may be closing the gate of hockey, but it is just a building. What really makes it special is the fans. And, on a summer night in Long Island, they sang “Var-ly” for Semyon Varlamov and “Pag-eau, Pag-eau, Pag-eau” for Jean Gabriel. They sang a serenade for Josh Bailey, the longest-term islander, by twisting the lyrics of DJ Otzi’s “Hey Baby” and asking him if he would score a goal. There are also some “warm greetings” to visitors.

After the beer cans were scattered with ice, they stood up and cheered for a long time, and the players entered the locker room and headed to Tampa Bay. They stay in a friendly environment again, because 49 years later, if so, it will be a good memory.

After all, they both sang with Long Island’s own Billy Joel less than an hour ago:

“Well, we all want to hear the melody, you make us feel good.”

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