The NHL and the New York Islanders ownership are not interested in returning to the Nassau Coliseum.
In the politicians are lucky to have jobs and are generally uninformed file, Nassau County and Suffolk County, New York legislators held a news conference on Friday asking the New York Islanders ownership to return to refurbished Nassau Coliseum. The place would undergo a second renovation to get the 45-year-old facility up to National Hockey League standards. Details of how the facelift would proceed and who would pick up the tab for the upgrade were missing. There are two points that should be highlighted from the political begging from the Long Island elected officials. During the Howard Milstein ownership days of the late 1990s, he could not get Nassau County politicians to build a new venue and the next owner Charles Wang struck out as well. Politicians did not help the owners. Secondly, the Islanders present ownership is looking to return to Nassau County just not the Nassau Coliseum.
The team owners have decided to go after a plot of land at the Belmont racetrack site in Elmont, which sits on the Queens-Nassau border and offers something that the Nassau Coliseum location does not have. A couple of rail lines. The Nassau-Suffolk elected officials also seemed to be entirely clueless as to how a franchise works. One of the reasons the Islanders franchise was a flop in Uniondale at the Nassau Coliseum was the lease John O. Pickett, the 1985 Islanders owner signed with the county that handcuffed Islanders owners’ ability to spend on the product. Simply, the team never got enough revenue out of the place. Pickett’s deal came a year before the 1986 tax code reform which changed funding mechanisms at municipally built sports facilities. Under the right set of circumstances, an owner could take 92 cents out of every dollar from a newly constructed taxpayers funded building. No deal like that is on the table at the Nassau Coliseum.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has ruled out an Islanders return to Uniondale.