Islanders might return to Nassau Coliseum while new arena is built


The Islanders might be returning to Nassau Coliseum while their new arena is under construction at Belmont Park in Elmont.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to construct the team’s new home, he teased the possibility of Nassau Coliseum housing them until it was built. At a Dec. 20 news conference, Gov. Cuomo said that he would be appealing to National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, to which Bettman responded by saying that he would only consider if Billy Joel agreed to perform at their games.

Joel might have to get on his hockey skates, however, because on Jan. 9, Bettman and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky toured Nassau Coliseum to determine the adjustments needed for the Islanders to play at the venue again, as reported by Newsday.

The team’s contract with its current home, the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, will expire at the end of next year’s season, and the Islanders have had continuing issues with the complex, including a lack of luxury boxes. Ledecky has said on a number of occasions that Belmont Park is his team’s only option. “There is no Plan B,” he told the Herald earlier this year.

The Coliseum recently underwent a $150 million renovation, partly as a result of the Islanders’ dissatisfaction with the venue, and the facility’s management insists it is still “ready to do whatever it will take” to entice the four-time Stanley Cup champions back, according to a person close to the discussions.

Bettman and Ledecky were unavailable for comment on their alleged Coliseum tour and a spokesperson for the venue declined comment as well.