The outside of the renovated Nassau Coliseum on March 31, 2017.

Nassau Coliseum Reopens with Little Chatter About the Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – It took some time for the Islanders to be brought up at Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum, but the usual plea to bring the team back to Long Island did appear.

First it was master of ceremonies Greg Kelly to lobby for the Islanders return, which drew applause from the gathered politicians and local dignitaries in attendance, and then it was Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Nassau Legislature, to mention it. Gonsalves even turned and pointed to Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yorkmark and said, “you’re going to make it happen.”

Other than that, however, it was mostly a day devoid of much chatter over hopes about bringing the Islanders back to the Coliseum. And the building itself is devoid of much reference to the Islanders 43 year history at the original Nassau Coliseum, except for four pictures of the team’s Stanley Cup Championships located in the lower lobby near the restrooms.

The Islanders and Nassau Coliseum – new and old – have been tied to one another even after the team left for Brooklyn following the 2014-15 season. Fans have hoped that the team would return to their long time home since their departure, and Islanders ownership met with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano in November to discuss a possible return.

Rumors have continued to swirl about the team’s stability and reports earlier in the year indicated that the Islanders were partnering up with several of New York’s sports and real estates heavy hitters for a new arena at Belmont Park or near Citi Field.

Still, Friday was a day that Nassau County politicians and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment executives touted as a historic day for the county. The renovated venue will seat up to 16,000 people for concerts and 14,500 fans for basketball and MMA/Boxing.

The arena holds the capacity for 13,900 spectators for a hockey game, although there is no team attatched to the arena. The Brooklyn Nets D-League team, the Long Island Nets, will play at the Nassau Coliseum next season.

Yormark also said the arena has put in bids to host NCAA men’s basketball tournament games form 2019-2022.

The new Coliseum features four locker rooms for sporting events, two for basketball and two for hockey. The home hockey dressing room is smaller than the Islanders current one at Barclays Center as well as the one at the old Nassau Coliseum.

While seating has been downgraded in the building, the renovated Coliseum does have wider seats, upgraded food options on the concourse and 11 renovated suites on the First Data Suite Level.