Schwartz: The Islanders Should Move More Games From Barclays To The Barn

If we’re all being honest with ourselves here, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Islanders will once again be a one-arena hockey team next season. Ever since the announcement that a new arena would be built next to Belmont Park, the Islanders’ part-time return to Long Island until the new place is ready has increased and all signs are pointing towards a permanent address in Nassau County starting next season.

Shortly after the Belmont announcement came an agreement to play twelve games at the renovated “NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum” this season and then twenty in each of the next two seasons. During this past off-season, the number of games for the old barn for this season grew to twenty and now the number is twenty-one after the announcement on Wednesday that the February 28th game against Toronto was shifted from Barclays Center to Nassau Coliseum.

My question is…why stop there?

Once the Coliseum is open for Islanders Country business on December 1st, Islanders fans from Long Island and even Queens who are not full-season ticket holders won’t need to trek to Brooklyn when there are going to be twenty-one home games on Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. Also, the final 12 home games of the season are at the Coliseum so it would seem likely that if the Islanders make the playoffs that post-season games would be in Uniondale.

So when the Coliseum is NHL ready again, the Islanders and BSE Global should seriously consider moving some more games from Barclays Center that have low ticket sales to Long Island if the Coliseum is available. There’s no question in my mind that if a game is moved to Long Island, even at the last minute, the attendance would jump significantly and you could even fill the building. Now that Islanders fans have been teased with this part-time return to their former home, there’s no reason not to try and add more games at NYCB Live.

Wouldn’t a sellout crowd of 13,900 at the Coliseum be better than 8,000 in Brooklyn?

And once the final horn blows at the Barclays Center on February 16th when the Islanders play Edmonton (that game won’t be moved…there’s tennis at the Coliseum), it’s senseless for the Islanders to ever step foot on the Brooklyn ice again unless it’s for a token pre-season game. Don’t get me wrong…I like the Barclays Center. It’s a wonderful building and great place to see basketball, boxing, and family shows but it’s just not a good place for hockey.

I was open-minded about the Islanders playing there from the start, maybe even more than most people, but it was an experiment that didn’t work out. It was a marriage destined for divorce from the start because it wasn’t Islanders Country and there’s a way out of it now. Both sides should get as many games as possible to the Nassau Coliseum this season and then just play them all there starting next season until Belmont is ready.

I believe this will all my heart…a full house of 13,900 at Nassau Coliseum is going to give the Islanders more of a home-ice advantage than any crowd, even a sellout, in Brooklyn. Now that we know that the Islanders are going to eventually be back on Long Island permanently in a brand new state of the art arena, it only makes sense to “rent” a temporary home near friends and family until your “dream” home is built.

Especially when that rental is a place with so much history and success!

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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