New York Islanders: They are coming home
Christmas is still a few days away. However, many Islander fans got their Christmas present on Tuesday afternoon.
While the announcement won’t be official until Wednesday morning, it seems that the Islanders are coming home to Long Island. There have been reports circulating that they have won the rights to build a new arena on the grounds of Belmont. This is very significant for the team because they will be playing back on Long Island for the first time since leaving the Nassau Coliseum. According to Newsday’s Jim Baumbach, the rights to build a new arena were between the Islanders and the soccer team, NYCFC.
The Islanders had played at the Nassau Coliseum for a bulk of the team’s history. They would play there until after the 2014-2015 season. They would end up leaving because the Islanders and Nassau County were not able to come up with new plans to rebuild the Nassau Coliseum. When this happened, there was a fear that the Islanders would end up moving to Canada or Kansas City. However, they were able to get to play in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Center.
However, the Barclays Center has not been happy with the team as of late. The management team who runs the Barclays Center feels they can make more money by having stuff other than hockey. What people forget is that when the Barclays Center was first built, it was never meant to house a hockey team. So the Barclays Center has been trying to get out of the lease with the Islanders. Before Elmont was talked about, there were rumblings of the team heading for the XL Center in Hartford. A return to the Nassau Coliseum was also being talked about. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman basically said no to that happening. So it was Belmont or nothing.
A move to Belmont isn’t terrible at all. The Islanders will be able to keep the fans they got in Brooklyn. Also, it would be an easier commute for the Long Island fans. The announcement is set for 11 am Wednesday morning.Follow @jon_blayne