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Thousands Rally: "Build it Now; Vote Yes"

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
With just five days until Nassau County residents head to the polls and decide the future of the Islanders and Nassau Coliseum, nearly 90 degrees of bright sunshine welcomed more than 2,800 Islanders fans and union workers to a free outdoor concert to rally behind the Monday, Aug. 1 vote.

“I’d like to thank all of the Islanders fans and residents for showing up today,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “This is a great turnout. We have something special brewing here with our team. We have a great young core and you’ve seen some of the players here today. We’re looking forward to getting a new building and bringing the Stanley Cup banners into that new building.”

Held in front of Nassau Coliseum’s box office Wednesday afternoon, cheers echoed throughout the crowd as Snow continued, first sharing a memory painted in his head from his days within the Islanders crease.

Islanders General Manager Garth Snow speaks at the Vote Yes Rally on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
“I still remember that Toronto series with the sold out crowds and images of Eric Cairns with that finger pointed to the sky and beating down Shayne Corson,” Snow said. “We need to bring those memories into the new building. So get your family and friends out Monday and vote yes.”

But the Vote Yes Rally featured more than just the Isles GM. Islanders Owner Charles Wang, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and local union leaders all spoke about the importance of going to the polls and voting yes.

“I’m delighted to be here and I want to welcome all of you and thank you for all of your support,” Wang said. “I’m going to get a little bit somber for a moment. This isn’t only about us. This is for our kids and our grandchildren. Just remember, we need a destination. We need to have some place that says something about us as Long Islanders. We have to build it and we have to build it now.”

John Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, also came out to speak not only to the union workers and laborers, but to the public. He said that if the residents of Nassau County don’t vote yes, then Nassau’s future disappears.

“The future of this island will be decided on Monday,” Durso said. “We have to show that we can get things done here on Long Island. This is not partisan politics. This is about our future. This is about you feeding your families. This is about people going to work each and every day.”

Durso continued, “You can only get this thing done, as we said before, if you go out get your neighbors, get your friends, even take a couple people you don’t like and get their butts in to vote. You vote where you normally vote, where you vote for your school budget, where you vote for the elections. You have to get out and vote. It’s about your future. It’s about our future. It’s about our kids.”

Islanders forward Matt Moulson takes the stage to speak to fans at the Vote Yes Rally on July 27, 2011.
Not only is this vote about Nassau’s future, but it also weighs heavy on the future of the Islanders franchise. Islanders players Matt Moulson, Rick DiPietro and Ty Wishart took the stage to thank the fans for coming out and showing their support for a new arena, but also for the support they bring by showing up at games.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who came out to support the new arena and support everything we’re doing,” Moulson said. “We really appreciate it. All the construction workers out here, all the union guys, it’s much appreciated. We know how important this rink is to the community and everyone involved in Nassau County. It’s important to us as well because this is where we spend our lives. Possibilities with this new rink are endless. Remember to vote yes.”

The concert portion of the event featured Randy Jackson, the lead singer of Long Island-based Zebra as the opening act with Blue Oyster Cult as the headliner, known for their hits “Burnin’ For You”, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “Godzilla.”

One message was heard loud and clear from the thousands of people gathered at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday - vote yes on Aug. 1.
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