Islanders: You Can’t Go Home Again

John Tavares is waiting to see what happens with the Belmont bid.


The National Hockey League’s New York Islanders on ice team returned to the old neighborhood on Sunday for a meaningless pre-season game against the old rival from Philadelphia. Hockey was played again at the Nassau Coliseum before a packed house. It was like 1980 again when the Islanders and Flyers played for the Stanley Cup. But as the author Thomas Wolfe once noted despite being dead, You Can’t Go Home Again. Neither the New York Islanders ownership nor the NHL wants the Islanders to go home to the Nassau Coliseum. The team now plays in Brooklyn in an arena that was initially built with a basketball and hockey design in mind but economics and finances changed that and it is not a good hockey building.


On Sunday though, one of the Islanders owners Jonathan Ledecky would not answer whether the Islanders ownership group along with help from the Madison Square Garden back Oak View Group and the Mets owners are going to put a bid on developing some land that New York State wants to see used for a sports and entertainment facility to sit alongside the Belmont racetrack. The state wants a bid by September 28. It has been assumed that the Islanders owners would be among the groups submitting a proposal to the state. The Islanders ownership is also said to be negotiating a new deal with the team’s landlords in Brooklyn. The Islanders and Brooklyn talks may be complicated by a number of factors. The building and the NBA Nets franchise are for sale. The building owners have the Nassau Coliseum as well and should the Islanders owners get a Belmont arena, they will be competitors for the same events. New York Islanders hockey has never been about hockey, it has always been about cable television and real estate and it seems that trend is continuing, a trend that started in 1971. It’s just business.


Brooklyn remains the Islanders’ homr.