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Islanders To Split Home Games While Belmont Awaits

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum that the New York Islanders will split their home games over the next three seasons between the Coliseum and Barclays Center.  Barclays Center ownership group, Brooklyn Events Center, is owner of both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum.  The Islanders and Barclays Center have a 25-year lease with an opt-out clause after this season.

The announcement of the home games being split comes on the heels of the Islanders ownership group securing the bid for the new Belmont Park development.  Cuomo states that the Islanders will be able to play at Belmont Arena during the 2021-22 season.  Although Islander fans will be very happy that the team will be coming back home for a short period, there are many questions that still need to be answered before the Islanders make their way to Belmont.

How Will The Games Be Split?

This is the main point of contention between all Islander fans.  The biggest issue with playing in two different arenas is determining how the games are going to be split.  Will they split them evenly?  Will it be a 75% Barclays, 25% Coliseum?  Jon Ledecky has said in the past, including his most recent interview with WFAN that the Islanders need to be financially viable as a cap max team.  Essentially, what he’s saying is that the Islanders cannot sustain a full NHL season at Nassau Coliseum, as there are not enough seats nor enough luxury boxes to cover the cost of running an NHL franchise.

If the games are split in half, what will the schedule look like?  If the Islanders only play their Western Conference or less favorable games at the Coliseum to fill up the arena, would these teams complain that they’re playing in a completely different environment than the Islanders Eastern Conferences foes?  There has to be some kind of system that the NHL and the Islanders can come up with to make it as fair as possible.

Where Will Playoffs Be Played?

The easy answer for any Islander fan is Nassau Coliseum because of the raucous atmosphere but it may not be that easy to convince ownership that the playoffs will be played at the Coliseum.  First of all, the Barclays Center during a playoff series is still a pretty good place to watch a hockey game, regardless of its shortcomings.  Secondly, as stated before, there’s no way that the Coliseum can make even a fraction of the amount of money Barclays Center can, especially with the fact that every seat will be packed for a playoff game.

When Will the Islanders Start At Belmont?

As stated before, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Islanders will play at Belmont during the 2021-22 season.  However, he never stated when during the ’21-22 season.  It could be ready for the beginning of the season, which I would hope for.  Considering he never committed to a specific opening date it could mean that construction may take longer than they hoped.

Regardless of what questions may lie ahead it’s still an exciting time for Islanders fans.  Even for just two or three seasons, the Islanders are returning home to where they made unforgettable memories for 43 years.  It may not be permanent, and it may not be perfect, but home is where the heart is.  And the heart of every Islanders fan is at Nassau Coliseum.

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