New York Islanders Nassau Coliseum Bettman “Doesn’t Make Sense”
In the ongoing drama that is the New York Islanders search for a new arena, the NHL Commissioner has weighed in, again. This time to tell us what we all already know. Or should have known at this point.
Everyone would love for the New York Islanders to head back to their traditional home at the Nassau Coliseum. You won’t find a person that doesn’t say that’s where they belong. But in all practically it doesn’t make any sense for the Islanders to play there.
And that’s what the NHL commissioner came out to say today. He wasn’t speaking for the team, he wasn’t speaking as a fan. He was speaking from a league perspective.
Gary Bettman, who grew up on Long Island, in Queens specifically, was also speaking to all those hold-out fans. Fans who think the Islanders will eventually make a triumphant return to Nassau. It ain’t happening.
"“I don’t view the Nassau Coliseum as a viable option,” Bettman said Friday at a news conference at Citi Field"
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It Doesn’t Make Sense
Since the Islanders left Nassau it’s gone under some semi-significant renovations. It looks totally different on the outside and inside. They’ve ripped out a number of seats to increase the concourse. And well that’s the bulk of it. It was a beautification process really.
It’s just not an NHL caliber arena anymore.
That’s what Bettman’s getting at here. The question he was asked was specifically relating to a clause in the agreement between Barclays/Coliseum ownership which stipulates that four Islanders regular season home games are to be played at the Coliseum.
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If that isn’t fulfilled Barclays has to pay Nassau County a cool million dollars. Which they’re going to have to do. The Isles are scheduled to play just a single pre-season game on September 17th, 2017.
Bettman was asked about the Islanders fulfilling that clause when he gave the “I don’t think that makes a lot of sense” line.
From a league perspective, it doesn’t even make sense to play four home games at the Coliseum. That’s how not NHL viable it is to play there.
What Bettman is saying isn’t new information. And I know there are reasons not to trust Bettman. He doesn’t give the air of a trustworthy man. But it’s hard not to believe him here.
Why would the Islanders go to Nassau to play a handful of home games? Because of a deal they didn’t sign? Because of nostalgia? Great. But last I checked the Islanders didn’t have great numbers before they left. In 1999-00 the Islanders couldn’t even average 10,000 fans for home games.
Sure numbers started to swell up in the lead up to the Islanders leaving, but chalk that up to fans making one last pilgrimage to the home of a team that won four back-to-back Stanley Cups in the ’80’s. Once it was announced in 2012 that the Isles would be leaving it’s no doubt people would come more frequently. They had to.
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Going back to an arena that isn’t fit for an NHL and that couldn’t adequately support an NHL team before it left makes little sense. I don’t often agree with Bettman, but in this instance I do.