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Long Island native Scuderi has good memories of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - 01-24-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

The Penguins played the Islanders last night in the type of wild, end-to-end, high-scoring game which has become customary in recent years with this rivalry.

The contest was held at the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., the only home the Islanders have known in their entire history.

The Islanders are scheduled to play their final full campaign in the building next season and move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi (above, center) is a native of Syosset, N.Y. and grew up a fan of the Islanders. Recently, he talked about the arena.

What do you remember from going to game there as a fan?

"I caught my first NHL hockey game there. It was against St. Louis and Brett Hull was playing. The building has a lot of different memories for me just because I was from the area. Even though the Stanley Cup teams were too [old] for me to remember, the Islanders teams were still huge news in the area, especially in the mid-1980s and the late 1980s. They still had competitive teams that went into the playoffs."

What was it like playing an NHL game there for the first time?

"It was in [2004]. It was a lot of fun. A lot of family and friends got to see me play for the first time at the NHL level. At the time, I didn’t know how long I’d be around [in the NHL] so you certainly want to take advantage of it when the time comes. I think I had just enough time to shake everybody’s hand and give everyone a hug and kiss before I had to get on the bus. I probably took up a full 15-20 minutes but it was definitely a fun experience and something I’ll remember."

Are there any similarities to Mellon Arena in its final years?

"Having played in both buildings, I really enjoyed playing in the Mellon Arena. Even guys I’ve talked to since then that I’ve been teammates with, always loved playing there. It was always a good times. We had some dark times here around the full-season lockout, before and after. People still came out in droves. Whether it just be to see [Sidney Crosby] or see a team improve, whatever it was, it was a great atmosphere to play in. I don’t think the Islanders quite had that. Maybe it’s different me for me, I thought the Mellon Arena was a nicer place to play."

What will you miss the most once the Islanders leave that building?

"I think just the fact that I know I saw my first NHL game there. That I played my first NHL game there in front of all my family. Memories like that are a little different to me because I grew up in the area but that’s something I’ll definitely miss.

Is there anything you won't miss whatsoever?

"The bathroom gave off a slight faint scent of sewage. It’s not because someone was in there taking care of business. It was just there all the time. So I don’t think I’ll miss that."

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

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