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Stan Fischler: Time for Nassau Fans to Vote 'YES'

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
(This story appears on here)

Whether you're a Rangers fan, Devils supporter, Islanders rooter or just plain Everything Hockey Fan, you have a chance to make your voice heard.

On Monday (August 1), a referendum will be held in Nassau County to help determine the future home of the Islanders.

This presents a unique opportunity for any hockey-lover to stamp his and her approval for a plan to erect a spanking new Coliseum in Uniondale.

It's as simple as YES or NO vote.
But if the negatives outnumber the positives when the clock strikes twelve on Monday evening, it will not be a good thing for the Islanders, nor will it be good for their hockey neighbors at The Garden and Prudential Center, nor the National Hockey League in general.

By contrast, a win for the affirmative group will, if nothing else, catapult the arena drive into high gear and provide promise that the project will be "onside" all the way to -- and over -- the goal line.

No question, The Maven has a personal stake in this, both historically, emotionally and otherwise.

I have covered the Islanders in every way, shape and form ever since general manager Bill Torrey drafted right wing Billy Harris as his first-ever franchise cornerstone.

It was the irrepressible Torrey who coined one of the best lines ever during that dreadful first year: "Our team is so bad that I'm coming to the conclusion that our middle name is 'Hapless.'"

But once Bowtie Bill hired Al Arbour and picked Denis Potvin as his number one draftee in 1973, the Islanders were beginning to see the light.

You know the rest of story; beating the Rangers in a colossal 1975 playoff upset; the arrival of Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, et. al.; two disappointing playoff exits in 1978 (Maple Leafs) and 1979 (Rangers), by which time Nassau Coliseum sold out almost every game.

This was followed by one of the most remarkable runs in hockey annals; not merely four consecutive Stanley Cups, but an unprecedented 19 -- count 'em, 19 -- straight playoff series victories.

A "brand" had been established by the Torrey-Arbour alliance: ISLANDERS = DYNASTY.

My NHL broadcasting career began late in the 1974-75 season, and by the 1980s, I was working every single home game; first alongside Spencer Ross, and eventually with those wonderfully talkative twins, Jiggs McDonald and Ed Westfall, who re-defined the fun of play-by-play and analysis.

Who could forget the marathon seventh game playoff win over Washington on Pat LaFontaine's goal; or the amazing halt to Pittsburgh's two-Cup run in the Spring of 1993 when David Volek captured Ray Ferraro's pass and put the rubber behind Tom Barrasso.

We're talking about a team soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and one that still enjoys a strong fan base in spite of some down seasons.

There are plenty of Rangers fans in Nassau County, and they've been signaled by Glen Sather that it's vital for all stickhandling supporters to come out and vote YES. Ditto for the Devils' Army and anyone else who has enjoyed an evening or afternoon at the Coliseum.

The arena has served its community well, but the old barn no longer configures with NHL standards for a high-tech, up-to-date hockey home.

You fellows and gals out there get my point - Don't pass the buck or the puck.

Vote YES on Monday!
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