Nassau Coliseum. Affectionately known as the "Mausoleum." (photo:hutimes.com)

Arena Face Off: RBC Center vs. Nassau Coliseum

This past Monday the good people on Long Island came out to vote on the $400 million referendum that would have funded the construction of a new coliseum. In a vote of 57% to 43% the people said NO. I felt bad for the folks voting on this issue. Vote “Yes” and their already ridiculous taxes would go up. But voting “No” meant no solution in sight to upgrading the time worn facilities of the New York Islanders, who currently play in the leased Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

I have never seen the Nassau Coliseum in person but I have seen it on TV and in photos.  Since I am Southern, I don’t think I am allowed to say it’s dark, ugly and depressing. I have to say, “Well bless its heart it’s just a bit dated and needs a little sprucing up. Let’s take it a casserole and see how we can help.” Seeing people having to vote on this issue made me realize how lucky spoiled we are to have the RBC Center as the home of the our Hurricanes.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast of some arena facts and tidbits shall we?

  • The RBC Center celebrated its opening night on October 29th, 1999 with a match-up of the Canes vs. the  NJ Devils. I can’t believe the facility is over 10 years old. It still looks brand new inside.
  • A lot of good things came out of the 70’s (like me!) Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum opened its doors for business on May 29, 1972. I won’t comment on it looking brand new. I’m from the 70’s and I sure don’t. The first event held there was a New York Nets Basketball game.
  • The Nassau building is named to honor those who have given their lives serving our country, hence the full name, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Very appropriate since it is located on Mitchel Field, a former Army/Air Force base located in the center of Nassau County.
  • The RBC Center is named after something as American as baseball and apple pie. The Royal Bank of Canada.
  • When hosting hockey, the RBC Center seats a little over 18,000.
  • Nassau seats a little over 16,000 for hockey and had the smallest capacity of NHL arenas until the Winnipeg Jets claimed that spot this summer seating around 15,000.
  • The RBC Center hosted the 58th Annual All Star Game on January 30, 2011. Patrick Sharp won the MVP.
  • On February 8, 1983, Nassau Coliseum hosted the 35th National Hockey League All-Star game. Wayne Gretzky was the game MVP. Patrick Sharp was still in Pull-Ups.
  • Nassau once trapped a Buffalo journalist in its bowels.
  • As far as I know our arena has never eaten a Buffalo journalist. However I cannot confirm that all Sabres fans are accounted for after games.

Our arena is easy to access and has plenty of parking. The facility is bright, super clean and full of Canes and Wolfpack paraphernalia. I have never had a seat I considered to be “bad.” The sound system is excellent as is the $2 million dollar scoreboard installed in 2009. It can display 4.4. trillion shades of color! (TRILLION! I am not making that up!) We have a world class ice surface (Rest in peace Donnie Mac). The Hurricanes locker room is not the swankiest in the league but it’s nice and pretty spacious. And we are finally getting the seat colors right. All in all I think we are pretty lucky to play in this ol’ barn.

Best of luck to the Islanders as they try to find a solution to their location woes. They’ve got until 2015 to figure it out. I would hate for them to relocate to somewhere like Brooklyn. I don’t know if hockey is ready for hipsters.

* Information from rbccenter.com and nassaucoliseum.com

Want to share your your feelings on the vote? Arena aesthetics? The 70’s?  Leave us a comment!
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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Donnie MacMillan Hipsters Mitchel Field Nassau County Coliseum Nassau County Referendum Nassau Masoleum New York Nets ABA NJ Devils Patrick Sharp RBC Center Wayne Gretsky

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