Long Island officials launch campaign for Islanders to return to “modified” Nassau Coliseum

I ended up missing last night’s state senate public hearing at the Elmont Public Library over plans for a possible New York Islanders arena near Belmont Park racetrack — which turned out fine, as most of it sounds to have been taken up by Islanders fans eager for the team to move to new digs closer to the Island. (Which is fine and expected and all, just, you know, expected.) Besides, the big news of the day was that the Nassau and Suffolk county legislatures have scheduled a joint news conference for Friday to propose that the team move back to Nassau Coliseum:

The Nassau Legislature wrote to Islanders’ owners Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin last month asking them to “give the idea of returning the team to its true home every consideration possible.” Members of the Suffolk Legislature sent a similar letter to the team and National Hockey League.

The lawmakers want Nassau Events Center, which spent $165 million to renovate the Coliseum, to increase the capacity of the 13,900-seat arena make it capable of hosting an NHL team.

“We have been assured by NEC that they are very willing to make necessary modifications to accommodate an NHL team,” the Nassau letter reads.

That is all slightly strange, seeing as that Nassau County presumably wouldn’t care whether the Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum or in Elmont, both of which are in the county. (Suffolk residents might prefer the Coliseum site slightly since it’s about five miles closer to them, but enh.) But clearly somebody in a position of influence has bringing the Islanders back to Uniondale on their agenda, and both county legislatures are on board.

Very much not on board is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who previously called Nassau Coliseum “not a long-term option” for the Islanders. But maybe if the newly renovated Coliseum got another round of renovations? Paid for by, um, somebody? Presumably not the people running the Coliseum, since they’re the same people who are the Islanders’ current landlords in Brooklyn — though maybe this could be some kind of weird ploy to get the Islanders out of the Barclays Center to clear dates for more lucrative concerts and at the same time fill dates in Nassau, but if so why do they need the legislatures to step in when they’re already negotiating with the Islanders owners and … you know what, this is way more tea-leaf reading than is worth attempting. Let’s just wait till Friday’s press conference, and wildly speculate then instead.

5 comments on “Long Island officials launch campaign for Islanders to return to “modified” Nassau Coliseum

  1. Long Island’s economy is to the point that it would be lucky to support an AHL team let alone an NHL one……

  2. The Coliseum question has been going on since 1993-1994. Kate Murray said no. The County dragged their feet for so long allowing Kate Murray pretty much absolute sa y in the Coliseum question and land. When the Coliseum referendum came, it failed. The association for a better long island railed against the referendum and was all over the airwaves scaring people about the new arena. The isles left and Mangano took over and picked a developer and got his renovated Coliseum. Strange it took a short time. Why give Murrary all that say in the first place. The County tried to bring in a AGO team but they said no. The seating maximum was lowered significantly probably to keep the Isles from ever coming back. All you did was put lipstick on a pig. The concourse was not widened. The County and new Hempstead supervisor were trying to woo the Isles back since trouble was reported with the Barclays and the Isles. Sorry, even though i live close to the Coliseum, I would rather the new arena be at Belmont.

  3. This is a perfect analogy for Long Island, or should I say Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. They don’t want anything to change and to do everything in their terms. That fat pig torpedoed any chance of a magnificent rebuild of the Central Core because the greedy TOH GOP couldn’t control EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE PURSE STRINGS THAT DIDN’T EVEN BELONG TO THEM. The Coli is last years news. Nothing can bring the Isles back. Barclays has been flawed since they decided to downsize the original design. Frankly, I loved the Coliseum, but it was allowed to deteriorate beyond reasonable repair and it lacks the bells and whistles that too many people think they need (I do not share that opinion.). Barclays is a shit hole IMHO. The building is uninviting and overpriced. Once the Isles were not in on the ground floor, they were destined to be second class citizens there. The sitelines suck and the ice is horrendous. It is well situated and mass transit is the best the Isles have ever had. But realistically, if NY State and the powers that be don’t act with some urgency on Belmont, Quebec City or the Northern Toronto suburbs are the future of this organization.

    I left Long Island in 2011, but Long Island left many of us long before that. The lack of forward thinking by the various governments on LI has kept them trapped in the ’50s. At this rate, the Isles aren’t likely to make it into their 50s…

    • For many other franchises, those Canadian cities would be options. The Islanders, however are committed to stay in the New York area for at least 12 years. The franchise’s top revenue source is the cable rights owned by MSG through 2030.