NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Maybe they’ll call Nassau Coliseum home again, after all.
According to a report in Newsday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman toured the refurbished arena in Uniondale on Tuesday, setting the stage for the possibility of the Islanders playing some games there in the future while their new arena at Belmont Park is constructed.
Bettman was joined by Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark and Long Island Association CEO Kevin Law, the newspaper reported.
Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Islanders had won the bid to develop the land at Belmont, which is located in nearby Elmont. The team will invest $1 billion in private funds to build an 18,000-seat, state-of-the-art arena, along with a hotel, stores and community centers. The plan also includes the reopening of the nearby Long Island Rail Road Belmont Park station stop.
The project is expected to created 12,300 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs, Howard Zemsky, CEO and commissioner of the Empire State Development Corp., said during the welcome-home news conference Dec. 20.
A guest on WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” show Wednesday morning, Ledecky said there are further renovations required at the coliseum to make it NHL compliant, but added that any decision regarding the Islanders playing there in the future is up to the league.
The Islanders are reportedly currently in the process of renegotiating their lease at the Barclays Center, which they have called home since 2015 following a 42-year run at Nassau Coliseum. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment operates both buildings.
Ledecky has said the team will play next season at the Barclays Center, but it remains to be seen where they’ll call home starting in the 2019-20 season until the Belmont arena is finished. As for when construction could begin in Elmont, an environmental-impact study that could reportedly take up to 16 months must be completed before a single shovel enters the ground.