An off day for the Stanley Cup final opened up the chance for the Islanders to sneak some news in. One was the hiring of Scott Gomez as an assistant coach and the other, as per tradition, involves arena stuff.
According to Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner and Gary Bettman’s No. 1 torpedo, the Islanders will not be playing any regular season games at Nassau Coliseum this season. But while the next 41 home games that count will all be played in Brooklyn, a single preseason game is apparently on the table.
Via Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky’s report in Newsday:
The Islanders, who play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, have made no requests to play regular season games at the Coliseum during the 2017-18 season, Daly said Tuesday. The league is expected to release its schedule next month.
Daly and multiple other sources said there have been discussions between the Islanders and Nassau Events Center, a subsidiary of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment that operates Barclays, for the Islanders to play one preseason game at the Coliseum next season. The 2013 lease calls for two Islanders preseason games.
Although we’ve seen and heard some crazy rumors connecting the Islanders and their former home, the question of regular season games comes directly from the team’s lease with Barclays Center builder Bruce Ratner, who wrote in stipulations about having the team play four regular season and two preseason games at the Coliseum after its renovation. While many will be disappointed that the Islanders won’t be playing in Nassau any time soon, no one will be more put out than Ratner, who’ll have to fork over a lot of dough to the County if they don’t, as per the lease.
The lease stipulates that if the Islanders “are unable or unwilling” to play the games, Ratner will have to pay Nassau an additional $1 million annually for each of the next five years, escalating to $1.1 million in years six through 10.
Ratner’s worth a cool $400 million per this totally accurate website I just found on Google so he’s probably good for the money.
Tuesday’s report includes Nassau County executive Ed Mangano and a few other political types talking big about making the Islanders come back, while the team, unsurprisingly, remains mum. The lease also said that a minor league team would eventually play at the Coliseum, but Mangano backed away from that clause, saying such a team could interfere with getting the Islanders back. In other words, this lease has more interpretations than an Ingmar Bergman movie.
According to Daly’s boss, the too small, still-old-under-the-surface Coliseum isn’t a long term solution for the Islanders and owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are working hard to make the team a winner again.
Newsday says that the Islanders and Barclays Center are continuing their “good faith” negotiations regarding their current lease, which could carry on until next January. Meanwhile the entire Islanders-loving world awaits the release of an RFP (request for proposals) for an arena at Belmont Park that the team is expected to bid on.
tl;dr No regular season games at the Coliseum, but maybe one preseason game. Still no Belmont yet. Carry on.