Islanders get good news on Nassau Coliseum future

New York Islanders arena NYCB's LIVE at Nassau Coliseum. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Islanders arena NYCB's LIVE at Nassau Coliseum. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nassau County secures new leaseholder for New York Islanders home, the Nassau Coliseum.

The New York Islanders won’t likely have to worry about where they’re going to play for the 2020-21 NHL season. Nassau County struck a deal with Nick Mastroianni II’s Nassau Live Center LLC to take over the Coliseum’s lease from Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment.

The deal, first reported by Newsday, transfers the lease to Mastroianni who helped finance the $100+ million renovations to the Coliseum that allowed the Islanders to return to their traditional home.

Also, and more importantly for the Isles, Mastroianni has agreed to allow the Islanders to play their final season at the Coliseum before they move to the UBS Arena at Belmont Park for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Immediate Future Settled

The Coliseum still needs an operator before the Islanders can actually play there. Thankfully, Oak View Group, who will be the operator for the Isles UBS Arena has already stated that they are interested in operating the Coliseum.

With a new party controlling the lease and with a likely operator, the Islanders immediate future – at least in terms of where they’ll play before the move to Belmont – seems settled.

We thought the arena drama was behind us when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in March that the Isles will play the remainder of their home games at the Coliseum before moving to the now named UBS Arena.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, Onexim shut the doors on the Coliseum citing their inability to pay off the $100 million debt they had on the Islanders home arena. Brooklyn was still there for the Isles to play out their final season before the move if need be. But after finally returning to the old barn it felt unsatisfying to end things like that.

Now, it looks like the Islanders, and their fans will be able to give the old barn it’s proper good-bye before they move to Queens for the next era of the franchise.

Not Totally Drama Free

Of course, there’s no such thing as a drama-free Islanders arena story.

According to Newsday, Mastroianni has few federal lawsuits filed against him with some of his investors saying he “failed to make promised interest payments to Chinese investors”. None of those lawsuits were related to the Coliseum according to Newsday.