The New York Islanders and New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo are expected to announce on Monday that the NHL franchise will split their regular-season home games between their current residence, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and their first home, the Nassau Coliseum until the new arena near Belmont Park is completed, as first reported by Jim Baumbach of Newsday.
The Belmont arena is not expected to be completed until the start of the 2021-22 season, which means that the Islanders will have two-different home venues for the next three seasons.
In terms of the distribution of games, the Coliseum is expected to host 12 regular-season games next year while the other 29 are played at the Barclays Center. Depending on the success of the Coliseum experiment, that number could be increased to 20 or 21 games the following two seasons.
The Islanders moved to Brooklyn after a 43-year stay at the Coliseum, their only home, after former majority owner Charles Wang was unsuccessful in an almost decade-long crusade to renovate the arena and the surrounding area. It has been a tumultuous stay in Brooklyn as the team's home attendance ranks last in the NHL as the fanbase has been unwilling to make the trip to Flatbush Ave.
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While the Islanders left Nassau County in 2015, the Coliseum underwent an 18-month, $165 million renovation that updated the arena. However, capacity was decreased to just 13,000, too small for a professional hockey franchise as its main purpose is that of a concern and NBA G League venue. Meanwhile, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman continued to make it known that the Coliseum is not a viable NHL arena.
He did take a tour with Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (which owns both the Barclays Center and Coliseum) CEO Brett Yormark on Jan. 9 to observe the state of the Uniondale, NY venue.
"The locker rooms, the training facilities and the like, that's something we're in touch with the Islanders on," Bettman said (h/t Baumbach). "The Nassau Coliseum has been given a nice refresh in terms of the way it looks, but it's still the Nassau Coliseum. So, anything that may or may not take place there certainly would have to be on a temporary basis."
There will likely have to be some upgrades made to the Coliseum before housing the Islanders on a semi-regular basis and it might be difficult to sell some prospective free agents on splitting time between two home arenas, but it's safe to say that they will have no problems drawing in their "Old Barn."