We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Arena Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #6: The New York Islanders eye new arena opportunities.
Unhappy with their new home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the New York Islanders seem to be in a bit of a pickle. The team relocated after the 2014-2015 season to Barclays from the Nassau Coliseum, which was its home for 43 years. The team currently has a 25-year contract at the Barclays Center, but as was noted in a September article, the Islanders can opt out of the agreement as soon as 2018.
The move to the Barclays Center was largely prompted by seating capacity and the Nassau Coliseum lacked modern upgrades. After all, it was the second-oldest arena in the NHL. According to a USA Today article from last September, the Barclays Center is at the end of the Long Island Railroad’s Atlantic Avenue line, so fans could take public transportation, the concourse would be easier to navigate, food options would improve, and there would be fewer lines at bathrooms
However, complaints such as playing conditions and obstructed views have given the team reason to explore their options for a hockey-specific venue to play its games. Several options have been laid out on the table for this to happen. Nassau County wants to bring the Islanders back to the Coliseum even though ownership has stated they have no plans to move back to the arena. Barclays Center would like to keep the team at the facility, while the Islanders’ owners are reportedly looking at building an arena close to the New York Mets’ Citi Field or Belmont Park.
Newsday reported in July that the New York Racing Association was talking to the Islanders about a new arena. Currently there is a 28-acre parcel of land that was put out for bid four years ago. While several companies have put forth bids, the state decided to cancel the request for proposals on the land earlier this month. A decision has yet to be made on what, if anything, will be done to the property.
For now, the Islanders will continue to weigh their options and play at Barclays Center for the foreseeable future.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List: