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Isles Rookies Get A Taste Of The Coliseum

The Islanders rookies practiced at NYCB Live on Tuesday morning

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

For many of the prospects at New York Islanders Rookie Camp, Nassau Coliseum is something of a legend. 

From what they've gathered from fans, teammates and coaches, the former home of the Islanders - now named NYCB Live - sounds more like a hockey temple than a rink. It's the site of 43 years of Islanders hockey, including four Stanley Cups and an NHL record 19 straight playoff series wins. Legends like Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin skated there. A few legendary tailgates happened outside. 

They're almost all too young to have played a game at the Coliseum; of the 24 prospects at this week's camp, only six have even practiced there. 

On Tuesday morning, the prospects got a chance to skate on the fabled ice of the Islanders' dynasty, as Rookie Camp shifted just west of the Meadowbrook Parkway. 

"I see it from outside every time I'm here, but I've not been able to skate on it," Mathew Barzal said. "Being able to skate there for the first time was a pretty cool experience."

Tweet from @NYIslanders: A familiar sight. Back at @NYCBLive for today's Rookie Camp practice. #Isles

The rookies were practicing for Wednesday's Rookie Game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center, but on Sunday, the Islanders will play a preseason game in their old home. It will mark the first Islanders game on Hempstead Turnpike since Game 6 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

"I know this meant a lot to the fans, so it's nice to get a chance to be a part of it," said Joshua Ho-Sang, who also skated at the Coliseum during the 2014 Blue and White Scrimmage and 2014 Islanders training camp. "Hopefully I get a chance to play here on Sunday and really feel what it was like to play here."

The Coliseum has undergone some changes since the Islanders last saw it. The seats are a sleek black and grey, the screens on the scoreboards are bigger and the concourse has been refurbished. The dressing rooms have been redone. On Sunday, the Islanders will enter the ice via what used to be the visitor's tunnel, because they are dressing in the Long Island Nets' locker room. 

Tweet from @NYIslanders: Taking the ice at @NYCBLive for #Isles Rookie Camp practice.

Kyle Burroughs, who also skated in camps and scrimmages at the Coliseum, took note of the new and modern aesthetic Tuesday morning. It felt familiar, even if it looked a little different. 

"There was a lot of history here," Burroughs said. "I know when we just came back through the halls here, having it painted was a little different. I used to see all of those Stanley Cup winning teams and all the banners that were in the rafters. It's cool to be back. It's a little different not having that stuff up here, but it's still good to be back on that ice."

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