Stadium Stories | Battle of New York

Your flight arrives at JFK at 4pm giving you a whole evening in New York City, what do you do? If the obvious answer isn’t go to the Barclays Center and watch the Islanders play the Rangers, you may see yourself out now.

For being a cross-river rivalry the general vibe of the game was much more mellow than I would have anticipated, but I guess that’s the outcome when both teams fail to make the playoff cut earlier in the week (another outcome is a major drop in ticket prices… just sayin’).

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The game started with a tribute to honor Stan Fischler, the legendary hockey expert of MSG Networks, before his hard earned retirement. After the photo-op puck drop, the two teams battled their way through a 2-1 game, with the Islanders taking the W.

During intermissions they honored a Hometown Hero and a Veteran of the Game, making them the most patriotic franchise I’ve been able to visit.

Okay, on to the quirks of the Islanders– has anyone seen their mascot? Sparky is a very spirited, blue and orange, hockey loving dragon.

An avid Islanders fan in the seat next to me filled me in on how back in the day the Islanders used to share the Coliseum with a soccer team, and for solidarity purposes, or perhaps financial, they shared a mascot as well. Upon further research a comical article informed me of Sparky’s pastime – haunting the Rangers home locker room on his off days?? It’s a Concrete Jungle, that’s for sure.

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Barclay’s Center is…weird. The architecture is stunning, but what was once a brushed chrome now appears rough and rusted. It’s also built in favor of basketball, with a whole media area left empty behind the home goal.

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The tickets I purchased were advertised as “restricted view”, which is something I would hope was not intentional during construction. The seats also happened to be in the self-proclaimed fan section, so I am up to date on all my Islanders cheers and chants!

I’m fully aware I was in a room surrounding ice but it seems the higher you sit the draftier the rink gets?

On thing they definitely got right was having the organ. Of course it’s not the classic, old-school pipe organ, but New York was one of the original NHL states (though it was the Rangers, not the Islanders) so it seems a little mandatory.

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Seeing the New York Rangers visit the New York Islanders at Barclays Center brought my NHL rink visits up to a grand total of 7, and thus concluding the hockey season till October 😥

On a lighter note, if you opt for California beer in New York, you get to skip all that line nonsense! Apparently east-coasters aren’t into Ballast Point, so I’ll just reap that reward.

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