A Nassau Democratic lawmaker has called on County Executive Edward Mangano to increase the number of seats in the soon-to-be renovated Nassau Coliseum to lure the New York Islanders back to Long Island.
The Islanders signed a 25-year contract in 2012 to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning next season.
In his State of the County address earlier this month, Mangano, a Republican, announced plans to build a new practice facility and corporate offices for the Islanders at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
Mangano said the projects would “cement the Islanders in Nassau and provide hope that we will witness their full-time return” after the Coliseum undergoes a privately funded renovation beginning this summer by Barclays developer Forest City Ratner.
The downsized Coliseum will have 13,000 seats and would be the smallest hockey arena in the NHL.
In a March 23 letter to Mangano, Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said Ratner should increase the arena’s capacity to more than 17,000 “to entice the Islanders to return. I am not a developer, obviously, but it does make sense to me to do everything possible during construction to make our venue as appealing possible.”
Mangano responded that the renovated arena is “not smaller in scale than the existing 16,000 seat Coliseum, therefore the flexibility to increase seating exists should it be necessary.” County officials noted that the physical space for the new Coliseum will not change and that additional seats could be added if needed.
A Ratner spokeswoman declined to comment.
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told Newsday earlier this month that “we have been given no indication by the Islanders, or by anyone else, that the move to Brooklyn is or will be temporary.”