Celebrating Islanders’ opening night for UBS Arena


When the sun rises on Long Island Saturday morning, the day has finally arrived that the islanders fans never thought possible.

From the years of wrestling with the inadequacies of the Nassau Coliseum, to the forced relocation to Brooklyn, where Barclays Center was planted face-to-face – with disrupted vision lines and poor ice quality – the Island’s biggest opening on Saturday night’s $ 1.1 billion sell-out date.

The era when the Islanders had one of the most extravagant arenas in the NHL. A fitting building to serve as the home base for a team that has reached the Stanley Cup semifinals over the past two seasons. New home built for fans.

This is evident from the impossible-miss “Wellcome Home” mural painted on the wall next to the escalators to the Concours above. But what else do you expect from John Ledecky, the so-called fan owner.

“Islanders fans have the house they deserve,” the co-owner of the franchise told The Post before the Flames fell to the Flames 5-2 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 17,255. “It’s been a long journey, it’s a lot of work, but we’re here.

The UBS Arena is built for fans of the next generation of islanders.
Getty Images

“I can’t wait to come in and see the reaction on his face as he walks in.”

The line of fans who are waiting to personally thank Ledecky for fulfilling the promise of a new arena is well worth a look.

Two years ago, a man who was diagnosed with child cancer went round Ledecky and described how welcome confusion was at night. Another fan, Anthony Ferrante of West Hempstead, told Ledecky that he was with his brother on the opening night of the Coliseum, which he later died. He brought his son, Anthony Ferrante Jr., to sit in the same nook seat on the opening night of the UBS Arena to honor his brother.

John Ledecky
Opening night for John Ledecky UBS Arena.
Getty Images

“The sport brings families together,” Ledecky said. “Islanders are a family.”

UBS Arena may be alive in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that shut down construction for about a month last March, but given another painful reminder to the agency, COVID-19 is still too variable to be cautious.

The Islanders were without their long-time player Josh Bailey; His leader, Anders Lee; Along with Ross Johnston, Adam Pelich, Andy Green and Anthony Beauvillier – all are currently on the COVID-19 protocol. In addition, Ryan Pulak watched from afar after suffering a lower-body injury, leaving the Islanders with his team’s shell to take the ice for the first game at the 2400 Hempstead Turnpike.

“I sent him a little text because he put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into keeping this team competitive,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “The Coliseum, through Barclays and back to the Coliseum. They grind a lot of it and they have to miss that opportunity.

The UBS Arena
The UBS Arena
Robert Sabo

Still, the islanders ’most anticipated night in recent memory took place as planned. The Islanders are the core members of the franchise’s history, though they may not be able to be present.

The Royal Blue Carpet was rolled over the middle ice for the introduction of Islanders Hall of Famers Denis Potvin, Clark Gillis, Ken Morrow, Ed Westfall, Patrick Flatley, John Tonelli, Butch Goring and Bob Nystrom. The announcer then shouted to Mike Bassi, who recently announced he was suffering from lung cancer and was unable to attend.

The most essential tribute of the night, however, went to Charles Wong. The late former Isles owner was honored with a video montage for his loyalty to the community and his relentless commitment to keeping the team on Long Island. Without him, the UBS Arena in Belmont Park would never have been possible.

So when the sun sank on Saturday night and the first home game of the season went on the books, Isles fans were left empty-handed, still bustling despite the loss. Because there are other games, many other games in the UBS Arena.

Do you still believe this is true?

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