Photo of the ice at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Home of the New York Islanders.

Image Credit: Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The New York Islanders will begin playing their home games at a brand-new arena in Belmont Park, New York beginning in 2021. Until then, the team will split their regular season home games between the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the team’s current home, and the old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Nassau Coliseum recently completed a major renovation and reopened in 2017. The move marks the first time in NHL history that a team has split it’s home games between two arenas over multiple seasons.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (now known as NYCB Live) was home to the Islanders for more than 40 years (1972-2015). Nassau Coliseum now has a capacity of 13,900 making it the smallest arena in the National Hockey League; the arena’s capacity prior to the renovation was 17,000. The Barclays Center was already the second smallest arena in the National Hockey League with a capacity of 15,813. The Bell MTS Place, home of the Winnipeg Jets, is the smallest arena in the NHL with a capacity of 15,294.

The New York Islanders front office are currently trying to decide which location would host playoff games over the next three seasons should the Islanders advance that far. Since Nassau Coliseum’s reopening following the renovation, the city of Uniondale has been lobbying to bring the Islanders back to the area. The commute to Brooklyn for an Islanders home game can sometimes be a two-hour trip for Islanders fans living in the areas of Uniondale and Hempstead. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment currently oversees operations at both arenas and are letting the Islanders choose which games they want to play at each location.

The New York Islanders have struggled with attendance since moving to the Barclays Center in 2015 and are currently drawing fewer than 12,000 fans per home game for the season. The Barclays Center offers poor sightlines for hockey games and is designed more ideally for basketball. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets also play their home games at the Barclays Center. Visiting players and coaches have also criticized the ice at the Barclays Center calling it unplayable and tough to control pucks on. The reason is because the Barclays Center uses plastic pipes underneath the ice to regulate the ice temperature while all other NHL arenas use steel pipes. This can lead to a poor skating experience for players. Nevertheless, New York Islanders fans can expect a first-class hockey experience when their new Belmont Park arena opens in 2021.




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