I Went To My First Islanders Game At Barclays Center And Now I'm Sold (Photos)
Many Islanders fans had mixed emotions about their team leaving Long Island to play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this season.
After the team spent 43 years at the Nassau Coliseum, it's easy to understand why it would be hard for fans to let it go and call a new arena "home."
It wasn't until after their first game against rival New York Rangers in their new digs that it became clear their excitement for the future was restored.
I attended the midseason matchup and got to experience the atmosphere for myself. While it's certainly a big change, it could be the change the franchise needs.
While I've been to plenty of sporting events this year, this was my first time at a hockey game.
Among those I've been to, this game sticks out on top not just for the pure excitement of the rivalry but for what the Barclays Center does for the overall culture of the game.
From the moment you step out of the subway, you can feel the electricity.
With 11 lines connecting right in front of Barclays, the ease of getting there from any borough in New York is something Islanders fans (or casual fans in general) have never had before.
Fans from Long Island have an even easier time getting the game with the LIRR located next to the arena. No matter where you're coming from, you can feel the energy from the moment you arrive.
Inside of Barclays was the same, and these fans know their hockey and the detailed history of the rivalry. You would think Brooklyn has been hosting hockey teams for years.
The arena itself is a work of art that provides unique views for hockey games thanks to raised seating on the first 150 rows around the rink.
There's nothing else in the NHL that gives fans a perspective of the game quite like sitting up 3 feet from the ice.
But no matter where you're sitting, the building is rocking and the fans are going crazy. Just make sure you walk around a little and get to enjoy all of the amenities.
When you sit up that close you'll have access to the Calvin Klein Courtside Club where you can enjoy an insane buffet and watch the players as they enter and exit the court.
Speaking of that buffet, there's literally everything from burgers to steak to shrimp or sushi and a dessert bar that will send you straight into a food coma. Seriously, don't go too crazy.
If you want to catch a break from the game and would prefer to turn up, the brand new Billboard Lounge is a place members can experience a club-like atmosphere unlike any other arena in the world.
With a live DJ, full bar and artist showcases, including pop-up comedy shows, the space lets you spend the night out without ever leaving the game.
Every event I've been to at Barclays Center has been top notch, but I can really say a hockey game is unlike any other.
The Islanders' new home may be a change of scenery for one of the most loyal fanbases in the world, but with the same passion in an upgraded venue, we can expect a new cultural staple for this generation.
Over time, Barclays Center could be one of the best hockey arenas in the NHL, no doubt. Another thing that's for certain is this won't be both the first and last game I attend.
Hockey isn't just alive in Brooklyn, it's thriving at Barclays Center with luxury you need to see to believe.