The National Hockey League’s New York Islanders will play all of its home games at its prior full-time home venue, the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York, in the 2020-21 season.
The return to Long Island, which comes a year ahead of schedule, comes after New York State invested $6m to bring the Coliseum up to minimum NHL standards.
Improvements included renovating team locker rooms, installing new cabling infrastructure and related modern broadcast media equipment, establishing additional dehumidification measures, setting up ice plant redundancy systems, and upgrading the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
The Islanders are expected to then move to a new facility in Belmont Park in the 2021-22 NHL season. A 19,000-seat arena is part of the $1.3bn Belmont Redevelopment Project, which broke ground last September.
“The Islanders have always been Long Island’s team, and I’m proud to announce this iconic sports franchise will be coming home for good – one year ahead of schedule,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a public announcement over the weekend. “This long-awaited homecoming will bring the Islanders back to their passionate fan base while generating energy and excitement from Long Islanders for the new Belmont Park Arena opening next year.”
The Islanders have been splitting time between the Barclays Center in Brooklyn – primarily the home of the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets – and the Nassau Coliseum for the past two seasons.
The Islanders had called Nassau Coliseum home from 1972 to 2015, but were forced to move when efforts to redevelop the arena collapsed.