The hockey lockout is over! The hockey lockout is over! Everybody celebrate the return of the firehose of economic benefits that will be restored to arenas the nation over—
The same week it was announced that the National Hockey League had reached a tentative deal that would end the league’s lockout, Nassau Comptroller George Maragos said the county “may be” better off without the NHL this season.
While the difference in loss of revenue is minuscule between having the season and canceling it, Maragos said other events that could be booked at the Coliseum if a full-season lockout were to occur would see a bigger crowd.
“If they do in fact settle, then the loss could be less than $500,000 because we would have the benefit of half of season,” Maragos told Patch Thursday before the lockout was settled. “If they actually cancel the season, we may be a little better off because the Islanders are not a big draw compared to other events.”
To be clear, what Maragos seems to have been saying was that if the NHL season had finally been cancelled, the Coliseum would have freed up the remaining hockey dates to re-sell for concerts, which some people might have actually wanted to see, unlike the Islanders. Cancelling two weeks of games at a time, as the NHL had been doing so far, didn’t leave much time to find acts to fill in the available dates.
Anyway, if the Coliseum is really better off without hockey, you have to wonder whether it wouldn’t make sense to let the Islanders buy their way out of their remaining lease and relocate to Brooklyn before 2015 — the Islanders would get a head start on their new life, and the Coliseum would get to book more, um, monster truck rallies? I’m somewhat skeptical — with the New York City arena now boasting five major arenas (MSG, Barclays, Nassau, Prudential, Izod), I can’t imagine there are that many extra concerts to go around — but if the Islanders are really only paying $500,000 a year to play in Nassau, as Maragos indicated, that’s a pretty small nut to replace. Islanders owner Charles Wang has previously said he doesn’t plan to buy out the last two years of the lease, but you have to wonder if an amicable divorce might not be the best thing for all concerned at this point.