After searching for a new home, finding one, then having two, then closing out the old home (again), UBS Arena finally opened its doors to the New York Islanders and their fans.
As Brock Nelson put it, "It's been a long time coming."
The Isles didn't christen the arena like they had hoped, but it was hard not to notice how excited they were to be back on Long Island in the NHL's newest arena.
"Honestly, the first 10 minutes, some of the guys were a little bit paralyzed and over amped up," head coach Barry Trotz said.
"Let's go Islanders" chants started during the pregame ceremonies and rang loudly throughout the night, similar to their old home.
“This is a new school building that feels old school when you’re out on the ice," Trotz said. "The fans are there, the acoustics in terms of the volume back at the bench is outstanding. It looks like the way they set it up, looks like the fans are on top of you just like the old Coliseum. Really good night in terms of what the fans brought, what the building brought, and I think what the players brought."
Here's what other Islanders had to say about their new home...
“It’s huge. We have a home now. We’ve kind of talked about, leading up to it, just what guys have gone through. As far as Brooklyn, split seasons, Coliseum, closing out the Coliseum…twice. All that stuff. It’s special to be home. I think the fans that were here tonight are pretty lucky to see what this building is, and it’s pretty special. It’s state of the art, it’s one of the best in the league now, and the facilities for us are amazing, and we enjoyed it.
“It feels like the Coli, kind of. Low roof, but it’s state of the art. It’s very nice. I hoe the fans really enjoyed it tonight, and it was loud. We went from a Game 6 semifinalist in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to this one, and the fans brought it. It’s a nice rink. We’re really excited."
“It was great, obviously. Having grown up in this area, played in this division for the last six or so years, it’s something that these fans deserve a home like this. IT’s an incredible building, the atmosphere is electric. Obviously not the result we were looking for, but our fans showed up, they were excited for us, they were excited to be here.”
Grant Hutton (who made his NHL debut Saturday)
“It was unbelievable. Being with the organization for about three years now, you always look forward to the first one. Being able to have the first one here at the first game at UBS is a pretty special feeling.”