The New York Islanders will be returning to Nassau Coliseum for eight more games than the initial 60 that were scheduled. Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on June 21 and said, because of a high demand, that the team will be playing 21 games at the Coliseum in the 2018-19 year in addition to 48 in the following two seasons.
"We're bringing the Islanders home to Long Island and to the fans who have supported their team for decades," Governor Cuomo said. "Until the grand opening of their new state-of-the-art arena at Belmont Park, the Islanders will reunite with their fans at Nassau Coliseum and build momentum for a long-awaited homecoming."
Islanders Co-Owner Jon Ledecky credited Cuomo for his efforts in bringing the Islanders back to Long Island, both at the Coliseum and at their new home at Belmont Park in Elmont.
He and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman were skeptical of the Islanders’ return to the Coliseum as they have had continuing issues with the complex, including a lack of luxury boxes.
However, in January 2018, the state announced that it would invest $6 million toward enhancements at the Coliseum to meet NHL requirements, specifically investing in ice plant redundancy and dehumidification, and media and broadcast cabling infrastructure. The team recently announced that they would be investing $3.5 million toward the improvements, which are expected to be complete by this fall.
Legislator Thomas McKevitt (R, D-13) said that the county is excited to invite the Islanders back to the Coliseum for the next couple years, but that he has faith that they could come back for a longer period of time once the improvements are complete. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it would be my wish that they come back permanently,” he said.
The first game that the Islanders will play at the Coliseum will be on Dec. 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.