Multiple sources told The Point on Friday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to head to Nassau Coliseum Saturday afternoon before the New York Islanders’ 1 p.m. home game against the Boston Bruins.
But he won’t be there just to watch a hockey game.
Instead, Cuomo is expected to come to the arena to announce before the game that the Islanders will play any playoff games this year and next year, along with their entire home schedule for the 2020-2021 season, at the Coliseum.
Next season is expected to be the Islanders’ last before they head to Belmont Park, where a new arena is under construction.
The push for the Islanders to play games at the Coliseum until Belmont was built started when the plans for Belmont were first announced in late 2017, Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law noted in a statement.
Cuomo had previously arranged for the Islanders to split their home games during the last two seasons between the Coliseum and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Last month, however, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran sent a letter to National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman requesting that the Islanders play their entire 2020-2021 season at the Coliseum. Bettman’s initial response was that the request was “a little premature.”
Friday afternoon, Curran applauded the upcoming announcement.
"This isn't just what the fans want - it's what the players and the organization want too," she said in a statement, calling Cuomo "indispensable" to her efforts to get the team back to the Coliseum.
If Cuomo's plan comes to fruition, then this spring - March 22, to be exact - will mark the last time the Islanders will play in Barclays, bringing to an end a five-year tenure that began after former Islanders owner Charles Wang moved the team to Brooklyn in 2015.
The Islanders are expected to begin playing at Belmont during the 2021-2022 season.