Are Islanders Brooklyn Bound or is Quebec Calling?
he New York Islanders need a new home. The glory years at Nassau Coliseum when the Isles were hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup on a regular basis are long gone. The 40-year-old arena in Uniondale (opened February 11, 1972) is showing its age. Simply put, it is not fit for a modern day NHL franchise. How bad is it?
Last March it was reported that claims of asbestos contamination were being investigated.
Even if the New York Department of Labor concludes that the air is safe, who wants to go to a hockey game in a building with an asbestos problem?
And it isn’t just asbestos. The arena is the second oldest in the NHL after Madison Square Garden, which opened on February 11, 1968. MSG also had asbestos fall from the ceiling last year, postponing a Knicks basketball game. But the world’s most famous arena is in the middle of a massive $850 million, three-summer renovation project. Nassau is also the second smallest arena (16,250 seating capacity) after the home of the Winnipeg Jets, MTS Centre (15,015).
So Nassau needs to go. But where will the Isles go? There are a few possibilities. First, it should be noted that the lease runs until 2015, so barring health inspectors declaring the building unsafe due to asbestos contamination, the Isles could very well stay there another three years. Back in 2004 Isles owner Charles Wang proposed the Lighthouse Project, which would have have built a new arena on the same site along with housing, hotels, restaurants, stores and offices. Unfortunately for Islanders fans who want to keep the team on Long Island, Nassau County voters struck down the project last year.
So unless Wang pulls off a miracle, three years from now the Islanders will likely no longer be residing on the Island. Well, at least not in the suburbs. Did you know that the New York City borough of Brooklyn is technically a part of Long Island? And that the Brooklyn Nets will be playing in the sparkling new Barclays Center next season? And that the Isles are playing a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils in Brooklyn on October 2nd?