Some owners, like Mark Cuban in the NBA, are still paying their arena workers during this shutdown. The Islanders aren’t and they have a good reason.
Brennin Weiswerda wrote an article for RMNB listing all the teams that are and are not paying arena workers during the league suspension. As of Thursday, the NHL season is suspended with no return date in sight due to COVID-19.
On this list, the New York Islanders fall onto the team that is not paying the arena workers. While at the surface level this looks like a scummy thing for Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky to do there’s a very good reason why the Islanders aren’t paying the workers. They don’t own the arena.
First, Nassau County is the owner of Nassau Coliseum. It is not privately owned by the Islanders. Also, the Operator of the arena is Onexim. Nowhere does it list Malkin or Ledecky’s name as people who are in charge for that arena.
Including the preseason, the Islanders had 30 games scheduled at the Nassau Coliseum. Are they responsible to pay out the arena workers because they spend 30 out of 365 days a year using the Coliseum? No, that doesn’t make any sense.
Now, I understand if Malkin and Ledecky were making money from every single even at the Coliseum including shows, the Long Island Nets, and anything else that the Coli doors open up for but that isn’t the case.
For example, the Dolan family owns 71.1 percent of The Madison Square Garden Company. That company is responsible for everything the Garden does. So if you want to get on an owner for not paying employees Dolan would make a lot more sense.
Now, if this situation happened at Belmont Park in a couple of years then yes this is on Malkin and Ledecky. New York Arena Partners will be the owner of the new arena which the Islanders, Oak View Group, and Sterling Equities make up.
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If we’re in 2021 or beyond and we have another shutdown then we can give Malkin a hard time for not paying arena workers. Now, he has nothing to do with that decision.