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Islanders ask for $4 million in repairs to Nassau Coliseum as they await vote for new arena

Jul 9, 2011, 10:24 PM EDT

New York Islanders Draft Party Getty Images

It almost seems a bit unfair to beat up on the New York Islanders front office, roster and even their aging (to put it kindly) arena. Call it kicking a dead horse if you want, but it’s more than a bit sad to see a one-time dynasty in such dire straits.

That’s exactly how you would describe their long-time building known as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, though. Chris Botta reports that the Islanders organization has reportedly requested $4 million in repairs from Nassau County, which owns the crumbling arena.

Botta points out that the timing of the request might be described as awkward because the team and region await voting on a public referendum that will approve or reject a $350 million plan for a new Coliseum on August 1. That being said, the $4 million request might be more reasonable when you consider the discouraging problems that are plaguing the facility, which Botta describes below.

The majority of seats in the 100 level of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the mechanism that enables the sections to slide in and out based on the event, are a disaster. Hundreds of seats are damaged, broken beyond repair and unsafe.

The roof of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which has been patched up with temporary sealants and tape since before Ziggy Palffy came to play, has a whole new batch of leaks. As a result, seating areas and aisles continue to be dangerous.

The refrigeration system that creates the playing surface for New York Islanders hockey games at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is barely functional, and can break down on any given day. According to a league source, the Coliseum ice was rated by NHL players the last two seasons among the three worst – despite the Islanders recently spending more than $500,000 in repairs. Not good for player safety.

Botta notes that officials can vote on the $4 million request on Monday or “put it off for another day,” which might eventually force Islanders owner Charles Wang to pay for the repairs himself (which he has reportedly done before). Hopefully the Islanders and people in that area can look back at these times and laugh because these are some very dark times for a once-proud franchise.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

  1. sharksfan754 - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    I feel terrible for islanders fans. I equate them to hockey’s version of the Oakland A’s. Small market team, living in another teams (sf giants/ NY Rangers) shadow despite past success. I am an A’s myself for baseball and can relate to the limbo for a new stadium deal. I really hope it works out for them.

  2. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    I hope they get this passed on Aug.1, otherwise we will be talking about another team besides Phoenix as a relocating team.

  3. newyorkislanderfancentral - Jul 10, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    The New York Islanders are not a small market team and do not live in the shadow of Cablevison Hockey, New York is baseball’s town 24/7/365, everyone lives in that shadow.

    Cablevison cannot even give someone 60m and get a backpage for hockey.

    As for the Coliseum the Cablevision Garden was closed for asbestos problems, scored horrible on it’s health inspections. Without it’s 1981 tax exemption they would have closed long ago.

    James O’Brien should be looking for professional writers, not bloggers selling themselves.

  4. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 10, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    O’ Brien never said the Islanders were a small market team. In fact, you are right, they are not a small market hockey team. If the Islanders were not a terrible hockey team, they might get more than the back page. They haven’t been relivant since before the lockout when Mark Parrish was scoring 30+ goals for them. If I am not mistaken, the Islanders are the 2nd to last team to the make the playoffs. Only Florida has been worse.

    • newyorkislanderfancentral - Jul 10, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      New York lost 600 man games to injury. They led the NHL in injuries for the third time in four years. Before that they made four playoffs in five years including 2006-07.

      A lot of teams do not make the playoffs that often even ifthat is a medicore result at best. Since 1997 Cablevision’s team made it only one more time and are completely irrelevant in baseball city USA.

      Four other teams finished lower last season, including the Devils.

  5. kingjoe1 - Jul 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    I would welcome them in the far suburbs of Philadelphia. Put an arena near the new casino in Bethlehem and watch the area grow.

  6. quizguy66 - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    I’m a huge NHL fan, but be that as it may someone is not seriously suggesting that moving a (sub-mediocre) NHL team into a random area will magically turn said area into a big-time market are they? People all over the country will pull up stakes to watch the Bethlehem Islanders? If that were the case Glendale would be one of the 10 biggest cities in the country :o)

    I really would hate it for the Islanders to move and I actually think Wang has been very patient given the losses he’s absorbed (he’s a horrible owner from a hockey perspective, but I think if someone else had been owner the team would’ve likely bolted by now). But if they do move you have to figure Quebec and Kansas City would be in the running and perhaps Hartford if they got it a bit more together.

    As much as I’d like to see the return of the Whale, I wouldn’t want it be at the expense of Long Island.


    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 10, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      I could see the Kansas City angle for sure. Not the first time the Islanders would be mentioned for relocation their. They do have an NHL arena ready to go. It would be best senario for the loser of the Detroit/Columbus to Eastern Conference. Kansas City would fit in perfect with Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Dallas, Chicago, and Nashville. I can see which ever owner, of Detroit or Columbus, maybe both pressuring Wang to relocate.

      Don’t forget about Seattle, as mentioned here a couple weeks ago is trying to get an NHL ready arena built.

      Quebec has a chance, but they have a lot of work to get done, such as building an arena Bettman will approve of.

  7. bcjim - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Is that Indian casino angle still in play? I know many far Eastern. LI people would love that. Fans if the Isles would get their arena and non fans would benefit from the death (or at least wounding) of the hated cross sound ferry and its associated traffic headed to/from the CT casino.

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