NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke out on the need for a new or renovated arena in Nassau County for the New York Islanders — and the implication was clear that something needed to be done before the team’s lease expires in 2015.
Bettman said there were no plans to move the team, and stressed that owner Charles Wang wanted the team to remain on Long Island. But it’s pretty clear that the Nassau County Coliseum is a financially obsolete facility. Wang’s Lighthouse development would have addressed that issue by renovating the arena, but local and governmental opposition to the development has stalled the plan.
With some new blood on the Nassau County board, it’s possible the development plan could be revived in short order, perhaps in a scaled-back form. There’s plenty of time to come up with an arena plan, but Bettman warns the clock is ticking:
“[Wang has] tried everything and been unsuccessful at getting [Nassau] county and Town of Hempstead on the same page,” Bettman told Newsday. “With four years to go on the lease — and Wang has said repeatedly he intends to honor the lease — then we probably need to get more serious and focus on this in about a year.”
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