Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has reached out to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman asking that the New York Islanders return to their old stomping grounds at the NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum for the 2020-21 season.
In her letter, Curran acknowledged and thanked Bettman for “graciously” allowing the Islanders to play the first round of the 2019 playoffs at the Coliseum and acknowledged the 4-0 sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As of now, the team has the remainder of this season and all of next season before moving into their still-under-construction new home in Belmont for the start of the 2021-22 season.
The team is currently in their second year of a three-year agreement to split home games between the Coliseum and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, also home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
Bettman announced earlier in the year that seven games this season that were originally slated for Brooklyn moved to Nassau. That brought the total split to 28 games at the Barn, a fan-favorite term for the Coliseum, as opposed to 13 at Barclay’s.
The league was initially resistant to have the Islanders play at the Coliseum until a potential new site, now Belmont, was constructed. League officials have been critical of the stadium’s lack of modern amenities, luxuries, and technology despite Long Island natives’ passion for the arena the team called home for more than 40 years.
“It’ s what the fans want. It’s what the players want. And, recent evidence has been clear that when Isles play home games on Long Island, they win,” Curran said in her letter. “Commissioner Bettman: Let us ‘Rock The Barn’ for one more full and final year!”
In 2018, Bettman along with Curran and other NHL executives, toured the Coliseum to assess the stadium’s sustainability, ultimately deciding that the arena was not a viable option for the team moving forward.
“I don’t view the Nassau Coliseum as a viable option,” Bettman said in 2017 after another tour prior to the Coliseum’s renovation. “Ultimately, whether or not the Islanders want to consider that and bring it to the league or something, you’ve had to ask them about it. But my gut reaction is it’s not a viable option.”
Despite Bettman’s concerns, a new arena is in the process of being constructed and Curran’s suggestions resulted in a four-game sweep during last year’s playoffs, and it is evident her word goes a long way to the head of professional hockey.
The Islanders are currently 28-14-4, good for third in the Atlantic Division. As of now, they would be in the playoffs, something fans would be excited to see at the Coliseum.