Nassau Coliseum is old. Like, really old, and because of its age, it lacks some of the amenities that the newer buildings in the NHL enjoy. People on Long Island know this, of course, and Buffalo News reporter Mike Harrington learned this the hard way on Sunday night.
After getting his writing done following the Sabres 5-3 win over the Islanders, Harrington went down the elevator to the main concourse with hopes of escaping the 39-year-old arena. There's no security entrance that media members have the luxury of entering and exiting through at Nassau -- just walk in and out of a special door on the concourse and find your way to a designated elevator.
Unfortunately, by the time Harrington had finished up about 90 minutes after the final horn, it seemed everybody had left to watch the Jets take on the Steelers. Harrington was alone in the building and every door seemed to be locked. Finally, though, he found one that was unlocked, leading to a little portal between the building and the parking lot.
We'll let Harrington finish the story.
The doors back into the concourse locked behind me. The doors to the parking lot were locked.
My flight from JFK was in the 10 p.m. range so that wasn't an issue -- unless I spent hours inside. And how was I getting out? I had no choice. I dialed 911. Nassau County 911 was a little confused.
"There's nothing going on at the Coliseum." Um, there was a hockey game.
"Why didn't you leave with the crowd?" Um, I'm a reporter from Buffalo.
"Just see if you can find an open door." Um, why do you think I'm calling you?
So he finally says they'll send somebody out and to call back in 10 minutes if no one shows. So I'm waiting, pacing the vestible looking outside. Just then, I see a cleaner pushing a mop bucket inside the concourse disappearing into a closet. I bolted to the doors and started banging. Scared the you-know-what out of the poor guy.
It's pretty incredible that there was nobody else cleaning on the concourse that could help the guy out, but it's even more incredible that once he did get out, he couldn't find the one gate at the Coliseum that lets you out of the parking lot.
If you've never been, the parking lots surrounding the building are gigantic, so it's kind of understandable that one would get lost trying to find the one tiny corner gate that lets you out. Maybe the Islanders should , you know, equip folks from out of town with this information?