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NHL signals approval for an Islanders temporary move back to Nassau

Nassau Coliseum rendering

Newsday reports that the NHL has signaled that it would look favorably on a short-term return to Nassau Coliseum by the Islanders. The move would come in 2019 and last as long as it takes for the Islanders to build their new arena at Belmont Park along the Queens-Nassau border.

The Islanders will play their last games at Barclays next season, ending a four-year run that has been disappointing on many levels. The Isles are last in the NHL in attendance. Both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum are wholly owned subsidiaries of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Mikhail Prokhorov’s U.S. holding company.

Newsday reports...

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is open to the Islanders playing games at Nassau Coliseum while the team’s arena at Belmont Park is being built.

“I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility,” Daly told Newsday in an email Tuesday.

Commissioner Gary Bettman previously said the Coliseum wasn’t a viable option for the Islanders, even on a short-term basis. But last month he indicated a willingness to revisit that after some playful pressuring from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Islanders’ Belmont Park news conference.

Bettman’s objection, voiced earlier this year, was to a permanent move. That was before the state approved the Islanders’ bid for the Belmont Arena. The Coliseum where the Islanders played for 43 years before their move to Brooklyn in 2015, was renovated by Prokhorov and Bruce Ratner. The renovation left the arena with only 13,500 seats for hockey which would make it the smallest capacity in the NHL.