After more than a decade of speculation, uncertainty, and a few scares, any sort of arena drama regarding the New York Islanders was put to rest on Tuesday.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello put any speculation to rest about where the organization’s games will be played leading up to the opening of their new home, UBS Arena at Belmont Park.
“We will definitely be playing at the Coliseum next year, that is a confirmation,” he said.
The Nassau Coliseum will remain open for the NHL franchise for the 2020-21 season before their move seven miles down Hempstead Turnpike toward the Nassau County, Queens border later next year.
It was a plan that fell under siege back in June when the Coliseum’s former operator, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, locked the doors indefinitely until an investor was found to take over operations and pick up the remaining debt on the venue.
A new investor has not been found — or announced — as of yet, which provides a sliver of confusion on the heels of Lamoriello’s assertive confirmation.
The Islanders — headlined by co-owner Jon Ledecky — and the developer of the team’s new arena, Oak View Group, has put in a bid to take over the operations of the Coliseum where it would be downsized into a music venue upon the team’s move to Belmont.
“I hope Nassau works out,” OVG CEO Tim Leiweke told amNewYork earlier in September. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to be in a position where Nassau Coliseum’s future use is pitted directly against UBS Arena. It’s a billion-dollar private investment, so hopefully, there’s a way where we can find a solution for everyone and I’m going to leave it at that.”
Lamoriello’s remarks also end any chance that the Islanders will return to Brooklyn next season and play at the Barclays Center, which provided an ineffective partnership for the better part of five seasons.