Bayville businessman Bernard Shereck said it was a recent trip to a Long Island Ducks game in Central Islip with his wife and grandchildren that instilled his desire to create a family-friendly sports and entertainment atmosphere at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. His 10-year-old grandson, said Shereck, “Didn’t know if he was in Yankee Stadium or Citifield. All he knows is that he was at a baseball game, he was playing pitch and catch with one of the visiting outfielders, and at the end … he was given an autographed baseball.”
Having grown up in Montreal, Shereck said he wishes to create the same environment in Nassau, only with hockey instead of baseball. “We had a blast,” Shereck added, “and that’s what were trying to provide with [minor league] hockey.”
Shereck is the CEO of New York Sports and Entertainment LLC, one of four companies that responded to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s Request-For-Proposals in March to redevelop the 41-year-old Uniondale complex. The competition includes the Madison Square Garden Company, Nassau Events Center LLC — the same group that built the Barclays Canter in Brooklyn — and Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group. A decision on the developer is expected to be made by July 15, according to a county spokesman.
A former operator of the Long Beach Arena from 2006 to 2009, Shereck said his plan is to leave the Coliseum’s exterior as is, but to revamp the interior. “The bottom line is, while I respect and appreciate who we’re going up against,” Shereck said, “I think we can do as good a job or better.”
Sports and entertainment
Prior to placing his bid for the Coliseum, Shereck said he had been in the process of seeking a location to bring an ECHL team — a minor league hockey league based in New Jersey — to Long Island.
Following the announcement that the Islanders would be leaving the Coliseum in 2015, he said he met with his partners and decided to make a run at the arena. His partners include Global Spectrum, a division of Comcast, which manages more than 100 facilities and 45 arenas worldwide.