Nassau and Suffolk County legislators joined together on Friday to call for the New York Islanders to return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum despite many roadblocks and financial obstacles blocking the way.
Standing with legislators from both counties, as well as fans and local business owners, the Nassau County Legislature’s presiding officer, Norma Gonsalves, said, “the Islanders belong here.”
“It may take a lot of negotiation, it may take a lot of hard work from both counties, but most of all we have to reach the Islanders and give them the incentive to come back to the Coliseum,” she said.
The Islanders played at the Coliseum from 1972 until the 2014-15 season and then moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
But with the Coliseum having undergone extensive renovations, lawmakers believe this is a good time for the team’s return.
“Home is where we are at out best, and this is where the Islanders are at their best — in this building,” Nassau County Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said.
There have also been discussions about the Islanders possibly moving to a new arena near Belmont Park in Elmont.
In April, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said moving to the Coliseum is “not a long-term option” for the Islanders.
People have raised concerns about the Coliseum being a viable option for the Islanders, citing its small number of suites, locker rooms, weight rooms and size.
Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, said the move is possible.
“If the Islanders commit to a substantial number of games, anything that needs to be done to this facility to bring it up to NHL compliance will be done,” Law said, citing information he received from insiders. “Never say never.”
Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker, who represents the 16th District, said some of his best memories are taking his kids to see the Islanders play.
“They have to listen to us,” he said.
Drucker said Bettman is “totally wrong,” saying he works for team owners and is only one person saying it can’t be done.
In the Islanders 43 years in Uniondale, they made the playoffs 24 times and won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980 to 1984.
In April, the Coliseum reopened after a 20-month-long, $165 million renovation, which included a new exterior design with 4,700 aluminum fins with the design paying homage to the area’s history — a dedication to the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane flown by Charles Lindbergh from a Long Island airport on the first trans-Atlantic flight.
The venue’s 416,000-foot interior includes a redesigned main entrance, new seating, improved circulation, revamped bathrooms and concession stands and new space for VIP experiences.
It also includes a new Blue Boom Beer Garden.
The Coliseum’s management is also touting the arena’s improved fan experience with free high-speed Wi-Fi, phone service for all major carriers and a high-definition LED scoreboard.
The new Coliseum can hold up to 16,000 people for concerts, 14,500 people for basketball games and MMA and boxing events, 13,900 for hockey games and 4,500 for theater events.
The Coliseum will also host the Long Island Nets, the NBA Developmental League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.
Lower level nonpremium season tickets start at $14 per ticket and upper-level season tickets start at $10 for the 2017-18 season.