Tag: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Nassau County

Report: Islanders and Nassau County owe each other millions


The Islanders are already set to bolt out of Nassau County Coliseum in 2015 as it is, and that separation isn’t about to go quietly.

New York Newsday reports that the Islanders and their management company, SMG, owe the county millions of dollars in back utility bills and revenue that the team is supposed to share with them.

In the report, the Isles may owe the county over $600,000 in rent and over $2.4 million in electric bills. The team also apparently hasn’t paid the county their cut for parking fees and concessions. Being that kind of tenant in an apartment would get you evicted.

If that sounds bad for the Isles, the county apparently isn’t so clean either as they may owe the team money themselves.

The letter states that Nassau may owe the Islanders and SMG for repairs the team has made to the county-owned Nassau Coliseum , the Islanders’ arena in Uniondale . But the letter to Picker, written by the county’s acting director of the Division of Real Estate Services, Michael J. Kelly, says the debts outpace anything the county might owe by at least $2 million.

What a great situation this is. Basically both sides know their time together is coming to an end and it’s time to figure out best how to conduct the divorce. Like most separations, this one seems doomed to a future in court to figure things out. Either way, the Isles probably can’t wait to get to Brooklyn.

Quebec City’s new arena begins construction in September

Nordiques Fans Hockey

It’s really happening in Quebec City.

Mayor Regis Lebeaume announced today that construction on their new $400 million arena will begin in September with hopes to have it completed by 2015. The only issue left now for Quebec City is to find a NHL team to put in the new place to call it home.

Canadian media giant Quebecor has the exclusive naming rights to the new building and will manage the facility and they also have big ideas about owning a NHL team as well. That kind of arrangement would work well to run a team in the former home of the Quebec Nordiques.

The one team that everyone turns their attention to in these situations is the Phoenix Coyotes and there are many who feel Quebec City should get first shot at bringing the Coyotes to town should the NHL seek to get out of Arizona. With the NHL reportedly looking into “Plan B” for what to do with the ownerless franchise, hopes are sky high in Quebec that their dream of bringing the NHL back to the city will become a reality.

It’s also quite the coincidence that the New York Islanders’ lease with Nassau Coliseum is up in 2015. If the Islanders aren’t forced out of the Coliseum before then by an asbestos investigation, Charles Wang may want to turn his gaze north to Quebec City instead of west to Brooklyn.

Nassau Coliseum being investigated for asbestos

Nassau Coliseum

Sometimes playing at home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Case in point, the New York Islanders’ home rink at Nassau Coliseum is under fire for issues aside from being the oldest arena in the league.

As Lighthouse Hockey shares with us, it’s also being investigated for asbestos contamination thanks to a lawsuit from Nassau County workers. NBC New York explains what is going on.

As for the Islanders’ angle on this whole mess, aside from trying to get a new arena built or the talk of owner Charles Wang starting to look around at other solutions for the team, they want to see a full investigation completed.

“The Islanders expect that the building owner, Nassau county and the building facility manager, SMG will review the allegations and take any and all appropriate action.  The safety of our fans, players and employees is paramount,” said the Islanders senior vice-president, Michael Picker.

The Islanders aren’t being sued at least as they’re just a tenant at the arena. Suffice to say, an asbestos health hazard, should there be one, would help Charles Wang find a way to get out of there before the team’s lease with the arena ends in 2015. Hey, maybe that preseason game in Brooklyn will be more than a test run for the team.

NBC New York has a video detailing the full story.

Islanders arena referendum voted down by Nassau County residents; What next for Charles Wang?

Charles Wang, Ed Mangano, Kate Murray

Charles Wang’s dream of having a new arena built in Nassau County on Long Island for his New York Islanders was shot to pieces tonight by the voters he’d hoped would stand up for the team. By a margin of over 13%, Nassau County taxpayers voted against the $400 million proposed arena referendum.

With Wang and Nassau County executive Ed Mangano’s brain child being denied, Wang has to go back to the start once again in his designs to build a new arena on Long Island for his hockey team. This is the second time Wang has had his hopes dashed thanks to politics.

Wang’s Lighthouse Project, which saw him putting up all of his own money to develop the land around Nassau County Coliseum and give his team a new place to play, was repeatedly denied by the Town of Hempstead and vehemently opposed by the town supervisor Kate Murray. This time around, Mangano and Wang’s proposal sought out $400 million in public money to help build a new arena for the Islanders and a minor league baseball stadium on the grounds as well.

Wang has said already that if this referendum was shot down that he wasn’t going to keep trying to do something in Nassau County saying he’d met his wits end in dealing with the local politics. The result of this vote likely did nothing to change his mind on those matters. As Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank notes, the next move is all up to Wang as to what happens next.

Mangano called it a “great day” because the people had their say. Wang said he was “disappointed” and “heartbroken,” but declined to discuss specific next steps. He also said he was really looking forward to a great season from his team this season.

Mangano and Wang could still try to work out a different deal with legislature and see if NIFA will approve it.

Or perhaps finally, for the first time since he bought the team eleven years ago, Wang will publicly dance with other municipalities.

There are possibilities still out there for Wang to work something out to keep the team in the area. There’s talk that the Isles could move to Brooklyn and play in the Barclays Center currently under construction for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. There is concern, however, that the arena’s floor setup isn’t meant for hockey and would potentially cause problems. There’s also the chance that Wang explores building options in Queens. The team wouldn’t quite be on Long Island, but they’d stay in the immediate area.

There’s also the possibility that if nothing is done by the time Wang’s lease with Nassau Coliseum in 2015 he’ll already have plans in place to relocate the team outside of the tri-state area. That would make for an absolute last resort move for Wang and the Islanders.

New York State Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, a major opponent of the referendum, tweeted that he believes Wang and Nassau County will get a deal worked out in the future to privately fund an arena in the county for the Islanders to play at. That leaves us wondering where his support for the Lighthouse Project was when the Town of Hempstead was busy shooing that away.

As for Wang, he posted his comments on the defeat of the referendum on the Islanders website. He’s sad but focused.

I’m heartbroken that this was not passed.  We’re disappointed that the referendum pertaining to the arena was not voted by the people of Nassau County as being a move in the right direction for growth.  I feel that the sound bites ruled the day and not the facts.  Right now, it’s an emotional time and we’re not going to make any comments on any specific next steps.

We’re committed to the Nassau Coliseum until the year 2015 and like we’ve said all along, we will honor our lease.

The result casts a dark cloud on the future of the team on Long Island and while this is still far from over with, this referendum was viewed as the Islanders’ best shot yet of getting a new arena and continuing to call the island home for the foreseeable future. Now it’s up to Wang to figure out how he wants to tackle things next and whether or not he’ll be able to do so without major government interference.

Polls are closed on Long Island, now the wait for results begins for arena referendum

New York Islanders referendum vote

At 9 p.m. the polls closed on Long Island in Nassau County for the vote to see whether or not the county’s citizens are willing to spend $400 million to help build a new Nassau Coliseum to house the New York Islanders.

As with all things involving the Islanders, the vote didn’t go without its own fair share of drama. The story that dominated the day was about how the voter turnout was lower than expected across the county. With so much money at stake here for the Islanders, one would figure that the battle in the polls would break down between Islanders fans and those who would like to see their tax money used for other reasons.

What helped keep the voter turnout low later in the evening, however, were delays on the Long Island Railroad thanks to thunderstorms and hail that knocked out service to trains. While the storms kept some voters from getting home in time to vote, neither side sought out an extension to keep the polls open to try and squeeze in a few extra votes under the wire.

One very curious reason was mentioned as to why they wouldn’t extend the hours of voting.

Polls close at 9 p.m., and results will be available after 11 p.m., said Democratic elections Commissioner William Biamonte. He cited the need to pay police overtime as one reason the county would not extend voting hours at precincts.

If the county is worried about affording overtime for police officers, it makes you wonder about the feasibility of spending $400 million for an arena and minor league baseball park. These types of questions are similar to the ones we’ve asked in the past about the City of Glendale ponying up $25 million to keep the Coyotes in Arizona while they don’t have an owner. The fact that we’re even comparing the Islanders to the Coyotes at all is frightening on its own.

The ballots will be counted up at the county board of elections. Once a projected winner is known or the results are posted, we’ll find out if Isles owner Charles Wang gets his wish or gets to start scouting out for a new solution outside of Nassau County.