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.