The goal of the Islanders playing games at the Nassau Coliseum before moving into a new arena at Belmont Park took a step toward reality Tuesday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and a group of senior officials toured the team's old home with owner ...
The goal of the Islanders playing games at the Nassau Coliseum before moving into a new arena at Belmont Park took a step toward reality Tuesday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and a group of senior officials toured the team’s old home with owner Jon Ledecky.
Bettman previously had said the Coliseum was not a “viable option” for the Islanders, but now the organization is waiting to hear back about the possibility.
“This is in the hands of the National Hockey League, which has to make an assessment of any arena games will be played in,” Ledecky said Wednesday morning on WFAN’s Boomer & Gio. “I’m confident that something will be worked out, yes.”
Last month, the Islanders won their bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park but could be looking for a home in the interim. They will continue to play at Barclays Center through the rest of this season and next year, and while Ledecky said Wednesday they “want that shovel in the ground as soon as possible” at Belmont, they could be looking for a home in the season before the new arena is ready.
The Coliseum recently underwent a $130 million renovation but still may need some improvements before it could reopen its doors to regular-season NHL games.
“It was a nice renovation by the folks at Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment,” Ledecky said. “But if you think about the Coliseum, it doesn’t have the amenities and it doesn’t have the things that a third generation new arena will have. … It’s small, there’s no suite revenue, there’s no sponsorship revenue. There’s a whole bunch of issues, if you want to be a cap-max team, to play all your games there is going to be difficult.”
Ledecky credited Gov. Cuomo for reopening the discussion on playing at the Coliseum — which can seat about 13,000 for hockey — after petitioning Bettman during last month’s announcement at Belmont Park.
“And based on that, the NHL has changed its position, because its initial position was we will have no regular-season games played at the Coliseum,” Ledecky said.
Early in his appearance, Ledecky also reaffirmed his desire to keep pending free agent John Tavares “an Islander for life.”
“We want him to lift our fifth Stanley Cup over his head,” Ledecky said. “We respect the process John’s going through right now. He’s got a big decision to make.”
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