Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum began when Nassau County acquired Mitchel Field from the US Government in 1961, though it wasn’t until the 1970s that construction was completed on the arena. Today the arena occupies 63 acres of Mitchel Field and is home to the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.
Nassau Coliseum has won a number of top awards for arenas, including "Arena of the Year" in 1995. It’s also hosted a number of charitable events including a benefit Mass for the families associated with the World Trade Center Tragedy, Games for the Physically Challenged Awards Banquet, public skates, clothing and food drives, and sponsorship of blood drives with the NY Islanders, NY Dragons and Long Island Blood Services.
Family shows at the arena include Disney On Ice, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Wiggles Live, Harlem Globetrotters, Smuckers Stars On Ice, USHRA Monster Jam, Sesame Street Live and more. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus holds the record for most performances at the arena, having performed at the facility each year since 1972. The concert record for most performances is held by the Grateful Dead with 35.
The total square footage of the facility is 409,963, and the Coliseum measures 460 feet at its longest point, 340 feet at its widest point and rises 75 feet above the ground. The ice floor sits 20 feet beneath the ground. Among the special features in the construction of the arena are that it has no interior columns and no obstructed sight lines. The arena also features 32 luxury suites situated along the perimeter of the facility.
The first event that took place in the arena was a New York Nets Basketball game on February 11, 1972. Nassau Coliseum holds the distinction of being the next facility Elvis Presley was scheduled to play on August 22, 1977 before his un-timely death a week earlier. Nassau Coliseum was also one of only two arenas in 1980 to have the Pink Floyd "The Wall" tour. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament first and second round games were held at Nassau Coliseum in 1982, 1994, and 2001.
Over the years, Nassau Coliseum has been home to the NY Nets basketball team, NY Sets tennis, NY Tomahawks and NY Titans lacrosse teams, Long Island Jawz roller hockey team, NY Arrows & Express indoor soccer teams, and the NY Dragons Arena Football League team.