Nassau County wants Islanders to return to Coliseum

Posted: 14/07/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

A group of local lawmakers is proposing the New York Islanders return to Nassau Coliseum, the barn which the team called home for more than 40 seasons before it uprooted for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2015.

Nassau and Suffolk county lawmakers will hold a press conference Friday, urging the firm redeveloping Nassau Coliseum to make the required upgrades needed for the Islanders’ return.

“We have been assured by (developer) Nassau Events Center that they are very willing to make necessary modifications to accommodate an NHL team,” Nassau lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Islanders’ ownership, according to Robert Brodsky and Jim Baumbach of Newsday.

Seating capacity was a primary concern why the Islanders left Nassau Coliseum, a 1971-built arena that had 16,170 seats. The ongoing renovation has reduced it to 13,000. The Winnipeg Jets are home to the NHL’s smallest arena by seating capacity, coming in at 15,294.

In a statement to Newsday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Nassau Coliseum is not a “suitable option” for the Islanders.

However, the move to Brooklyn has not been without its own concerns, as the arena was initially built for basketball, leaving many seats with an obstructed view of the Islanders’ ice surface.

The Islanders have a 25-year lease at Barclays Center, but can opt out of the agreement as early as 2018. In April, the team submitted a request for proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park in Nassau County.

While the location of the team’s future home remains uncertain, the Islanders will play at least one more game at Nassau Coliseum, as it was announced last month that the arena will host a preseason game next season between the Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.

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