Nassau Coliseum: The End of an Era

After the 2014-15 NHL season the New York Islanders will be moving away from the Nassau Coliseum, the place that they have called home for the first 43 seasons of their existence.  Nassau County, and Long Island as a whole, will be losing its final professional sports franchise as a tenant.

The news that the Islanders are leaving is not something that is a breaking story, especially after the team announced their 25 year agreement to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, last October.  But today it became all too real.

"The Old Barn" may be run down, obsolete, and basically decrepit, but the memories that were made throughout the years there, still make the building beautiful in the eyes of millions of Islander fans.(IslesPunkFan/Flickr)

FoImage previewrest City Ratner Companies, will be the new developer of the Nassau Coliseum site according to the Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano.  Ironically Bruce Ratner, who heads Forest City, also developed the Barclays Center.

Many believe that Ratner's group overtook James Dolan's Madison Square Garden Co. bid, by promising to bring the Islanders back for a few home games a year.  With Ratner's plan of shrinking the capacity from 17,686 of the current Coliseum down to about 13,000, it is difficult to see this plan continue throughout the future.

Sure, the new arena will be state of the art, it will be filled with all of the top of the line equipment, it will house great events like the circus, concerts, and car shows, but without consistent NHL hockey, revenue will decrease dramatically.

Blame can be spread throughout as to why The Islanders plans for the site did not work, but the past can no longer be dwelled on.  The reality is that after the next two seasons the New York Islanders will no longer call the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home, so it is time for the team to get to work and strive to deliver a couple of more parades down Long Island's Canyon of Hero's, Hempstead Turnpike.

-Chad DeCarlo

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Judema55's picture

Interesting facts.......Sad to see them go but like you said, its time for "LETS GO ISLANDERS"!!!

jdf14's picture

Chad, don't you think the Isles record is the reason that Nassau County didn't do what was necessary to keep the Islanders in Nassau? I am old enough to remember the Islanders when they were a first place team walking around with Lord Stanley-no way the political County cronies would have let them go at that time. Maybe at the end of the day the Islander's record sealed their fate.

Chad DeCarlo's picture

It's tough to have a good record with mediocre players. No players with talent want to play in a run down building with minimal immenities. Maybe the redidents of Nassau County will understand the importance of the team once they lose the jobs and money that the Islanders have brought here for the last 40 plus years. Their record is only going to be getting better because they have compitent people in the front office nowadays unlike the late 90's into the new milleneum, if only they could stay where they belong for all their true fans to see them rather then move to NYC.

Russ Burcheri's picture

Chad: I will be curious to see what the new fan base looks like. Without adequate parking, the suburban fan base used to piling the kids in the car for a night of hockey might just stay home -- and that suburban fan base has been the lifeblood of the Islanders from inception. I guess if they can continue their winning ways, the LIRR will not be such an obstacle. But the tolerance for a losing team is not going to be as strong. Attracting brand new fans will be critical. As you and I have discussed in the past, they might consider signing some high profile Russian talent and start marketing in Brighton Beach.

Chad DeCarlo's picture

Russ, the fan base is going to be dramatically different. Rather than the blue collar Long Island family, there will be the NYC suits coming to the games. I also agree that the only way they could even keep this fan base is if the Isles continue to excel on the ice. As far as the Russian thing is concerned I would definitley enjoy that and I am sure that it would draw a huge amount of Russian followers, but buyer beware. The last 2 big time Russian NHLer's to sign long term, big money deals with a team (minus Evgeni Malkin) ended up leaving the NHL for their countries own KHL.

jdf14's picture

We are talking like the Islanders have moved to another state. The true Island Fan is not what we are talking about since, the true fan, would make the long 12 mile drive to Brooklyn.
We are really talking about the people that want to take in a Hockey game - not the season ticket holder but, the, "hey let's go to a game tonight".
So when you think of the dense population in the Brooklyn area, along with available mass transportation that the area residents are used to using, (Nassau and Suffolk residents don't take the bus or subway) it is suddenly a, "no brainer". It will be easier to pack 'em in the seats and the Islanders will have an easy increase in revenue. Increased revenue allows the Team to obtain better talent and let's face it, everyone likes a now the Islanders become a hot ticket, because they are winning. Finally, Hockey is still not like Baseball or Football in this area, we sill need to get more of our area people interested in Hockey; we would not be having this discussion if we were in Canada!

Russ Burcheri's picture

Chad, jdf14 makes some good points. I guess it will be interesting to see how many fannies fill the seats because Barclays is so convenient to so many of them and a "spur of the moment" taking in of a hockey game is more likely to occur in a densely populated urban area than in the suburbs. Following the Islanders "off ice" progress may be almost as intriguing as following their "on ice" accomplishments. Is it still two more full seasons at the concrete desert?