NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the new Nassau Coliseum is “not a long-term option” for the Islanders despite recent comments by Long Island business and political leaders that the team could move back there.
On WFAN with Mike Francesa, Bettman also said Islanders owner Scott Malkin “didn’t buy the New York Islanders to move them somewhere else. He is committed to this area.”
Bettman said the NHL has been consulting with Malkin and co-owner Jon Ledecky on their search for a new arena, though the commissioner also said he’s not sure the Islanders are necessarily parting ways with Barclays Center.
“The fact that they’re looking at building a hockey-functioning building is a good thing,” Bettman said. “The fact that they’re looking at a lot of options in terms of where they can build it, I think that’s all good. If I’m an Islander fan who lives in Nassau and Suffolk, I’ve got to be somewhere between excited and intrigued at the possibilities.”
Barclays Center management also runs the new Coliseum and Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, told Newsday on Wednesday that Barclays will soon propose to Malkin and Ledecky that the Islanders move to the renovated Coliseum, which can add to its 13,000 seat capacity.
Islanders sources have consistently rejected that idea and Bettman said the Coliseum did not seem to be a real option.
“I haven’t seen it, haven’t been in it. In the final analysis, I think that’s not a long-term option,” Bettman said Thursday. Asked whether the Coliseum could be a short-term option, he replied, “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Bettman added that he didn’t think the situation between the Islanders and Barclays Center was untenable. “I’m not prepared to say that,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s reached a definite conclusion.”