Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano says the New York Islanders will one day return to their home on Long Island, despite the team's 25-year agreement to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning this fall.
Mangano told WFAN.com in an interview published Friday that "I certainly do believe that we will see the return of the Islanders at some point" to play at the renovated Nassau Coliseum.
Mangano told Newsday Friday he was "optimistic" the Islanders could return to Nassau, as the renovated Coliseum and the Barclays Center share a common developer: Bruce Ratner.
Mangano said the renovated arena "would be very attractive to a professional sports team" and the Islander fan base, noting that a team practice facility and a large number of corporate sponsors are in Nassau.
Mangano declined to comment on the Islanders' contract to play in Brooklyn and said he's had no conversations with Ratner about bringing the team back to Nassau. "This is my analysis and my opinion," he said.
Ratner and Islanders officials did not respond to requests for comment.
During his State of the County address in March, Mangano said construction of a practice center and office space for the team in Nassau would "cement the Islanders in Nassau and provide hope that we will witness their full-time return."
The National Hockey League's deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, said at the time, "We have been given no indication by the Islanders, or by anyone else, that the move to Brooklyn is or will be temporary."
Friday, Mangano attributed the league's reaction to "a need to sell tickets" at the Barclays Center.
The Islanders will begin playing regular-season games at Barclays on Oct. 9.
The $261 million renovation of the Coliseum, which includes an adjacent retail and entertainment complex, is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.While seating at the renovated Coliseum will be reduced to a maximum of 13,000, Mangano said the footprint of the arena will not change, and thousands of seats can be added back if the team were to return.