The Islanders are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight year and will begin their first round series against the Penguins this weekend in Pittsburgh. When the Islanders return home to the Nassau Coliseum for games three and four (and game six if necessary), they will be welcomed to the ice by significantly more fans than they have been accustomed to at “The Barn” this season. In March, after New York State relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to allow ten percent capacity for indoor arenas, the Islanders were permitted to allow 1,400 fans for each game at Nassau Coliseum.
For the playoffs, that number is going up.
According to a team official, the capacity is expected to be around 6,800 as the Coliseum will have sections for both vaccinated and unvaccinated fans.
“It’s actually increasing capacity to get people vaccinated,” said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Congratulations to the Islanders who are making it into the playoffs and we are very very excited. We’re very proud of the Islanders.”
Here’s how it’s going to work in terms of Islanders playoff tickets…
-Tickets will go on sale later this week to season ticket holders only. If any tickets remain, they would be made available to the general public.
-50 percent of the tickets will be made available to those who are vaccinated. The fully vaccinated section will have pods that are approximately three feet apart and separated by an unoccupied seat. Masks must be worn.
-Young adults and children under 16 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine can accompany and sit in the vaccinated section but they have to have received a recent negative PCR test administered within 72 hours of the opening face-off or a rapid antigen test within 6 hours of the start of the game.
-50 percent of the tickets will be made available to those who are not vaccinated. Those pods will be six feet apart. All unvaccinated fans will have to show a recent negative PCR test administered within 72 hours of the opening face-off or a rapid antigen test within 6 hours of the start of the game. Masks must be worn.
The news of more fans being allowed to attend playoff games was music to the ears of everyone in Islanders Country.
“I think it’s going to be great,” said Islanders Head coach Barry Trotz. I think it’s going to be refreshing for the players. I think it’s going to be refreshing for everybody involved. It’s a step that I think is necessary going forward. I think the fans are going to be crazy. When you’re caged up inside for basically the last year, nothing better than playoff hockey to get some of those emotions out.”
“It’s great to be back in the playoffs for the third straight season,” said Islanders Co-Owner Jon Ledecky. “Islanders fans are the heartbeat of this franchise and we owe everything to them. It’s a fitting tribute to our fans that they can be at the Nassau Coliseum in big numbers for the playoffs and can celebrate the many wonderful memories they have had there through the years.”
It would have been a shame for only 1,400 fans to be able to go to what will be the final Stanley Cup Playoff games to take place at Nassau Coliseum. Somewhere in the vicinity of 6,800 fans will certainly look, sound, and feel better than 1,400 but that is the number right now. If the Islanders can duplicate last season’s run to the conference final or even make it to the Stanley Cup Final, then perhaps there’s a chance for that number to go up even more if New York State guidelines are changed again.
The fairy tale ending for Nassau Coliseum would be 13,917 fans watching the Islanders close the building by winning the Stanley Cup.