The New York Islanders have reached an agreement to split “roughly half” their games at the refurbished Nassau Coliseum over the next three seasons, beginning in 2018-19, until their new arena at Belmont is completed.
Specifically, the number is about 60 games (54 regular season), according to Jim Baumbach of Newsday, who pressed for more details than were put on ceremonial display. Brian Compton of NHL.com put the number at 12 next season.
The arrangement, reached with Barclays Sports Entertainment (BSE) which manages both Barclays Center and the Coliseum, was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an event promoting it Monday morning on the floor of the Coliseum Monday morning with a grand mix of bigwigs.
That included Cuomo, who pushed the Belmont development and also hyped an Isles’ interim return to the Coliseum, several Long Island politicians, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, BSE leader Brett Yormark — who stressed and hyped the renovated Coliseum — and a handful of Islanders players including John Tavares.
The news was much anticipated in recent weeks as the Islanders and BSE faced a deadline at the end of this month to opt-out of their 25-year lease and arrange terms for an amended one.
The incentive for both sides to find an agreement was high:
- BSE has not profited from the Islanders at Barclays as they originally hoped, and their management agreement of the Coliseum requires “pro hockey” there
- The Islanders would be homeless while waiting for their arena in Belmont to be built if BSE opted out of the lease and kicked them out of Barclays Center after next season.
The Coliseum will undergo “basic structural modifications to meet the specifications of the NHL,” Cuomo said, while also referencing a blender of odd metaphors involving the Islanders be a cherry on top of some Long Island cake.
Yormark said they will “fast-track” changes to the building for amenities “the players have never before” had there. He also said, as BSE no doubt would love, they’d be open to more than half the games being played.
Ledecky heavily credited Cuomo for making sure the Isles had a place to play in their arena limbo before Belmont, and for pushing to make that at least partly involve Nassau again.
Yormark says they’re still discussing where to play playoff games. Ledecky says that will be up to NHL.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) January 29, 2018
So here we are. Splitting at least a dozen games within the same season at two different “home” venues is totally unconventional. So it’s totally Islanders.
The governor’s office is streaming the announcement live here: www.governor.ny.gov