If there were any remaining concerns if the New York Islanders would play next season at Nassau Coliseum, you can put them to rest.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello confirmed during a Zoom conference call with reporters on Tuesday that the team would play next season at the Nassau Coliseum. There had been some questions if that would still be the case after the former operator of the building, Onexim Sports and Entertainment, closed the venue as they searched for someone to take over the lease with Nassau County.
“We will definitely be playing at the Coliseum next year. That is a confirmation,” Lamoriello said when asked about the arena situation by NYI Hockey Now.
Earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Islanders would play their final season before they move into UBS Arena at the Nassau Coliseum. However, the initial closure of the building threw those plans into doubt.
Florida businessman Nick Mastroianni II struck a deal with Nassau County to take over control of the Nassau Coliseum in August.
At the moment, it’s unclear when exactly the 2020-21 season will start. The NHL had originally targeted December for the start of the new year, but that could be pushed back to January.
Lamoriello did not have any information about when the next season would start or what the plan would be to conduct it. The Islanders general manager was encouraged by the sight of small groups of fans at NFL games in certain cities and he’s holding out hope that the NHL would be able to do something similar.
“Hopefully sometime in the current year at the Coliseum we will have fans,” Lamoriello said. “It’s great to see when we’re looking at professional football right now depending upon the state that they’re playing in we see the fans in the stands. I read that baseball depending upon different sets of circumstances before the World Series there might be fans there.
“That’s a great sight and it’s a great feeling to see that happening. Hopefully, we can get back to more normal situations for our sports. The most important thing is having everyone safe.”
With the question of where the Islanders will play their final season before they move into UBS Arena answered, there should be a smooth transition into their new home. The excitement surrounding the move into a brand new building has only grown as the project continues at a rapid pace just off the Cross Island Parkway.
Lamoriello said the roof of the arena should be completed within the next few weeks and fans that have already purchased season tickets at the new facility at Belmont Park will begin selecting seats in the next week.
UBS Arena is expected to be open in October of 2021 in time for the start of the 2021-22 NHL season.