NHL ice hockey team the New York Islanders has announced that it will split its home games between Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center ahead of its proposed move to a new arena in 2021.
The team was last month granted permission to build a new 18,000-seat arena on the site of the Belmont Park horse-racing facility on Long Island, and it is hoped the venue will open in time for the 2021-22 season.
The Islanders currently play at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which has been the team’s home since 2015. Prior to that, the Islanders had spent more than 30 years at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum.
The team’s relocation to Barclays Center proved tough, with the team having the lowest average attendance in the NHL this season. It is hoped building a new arena in its ‘home’ town will help revive the club’s fortunes, and Long Island-based fans will be able to watch the team more easily from next year after an agreement was reached to stage some matches at Nassau Coliseum ahead of the permanent relocation.
The Associated Press news agency reported that the Islanders will play 12 games at the Coliseum during the 2018-19 season, along with a further 48 more over the course of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
The Islanders initially left the Coliseum due to issues surrounding the development of the arena, and the AP noted that the state will invest $6m (£4.2m/€4.8m) worth of venue upgrades to ensure it is up to NHL standard in time for next season.
Image: Ché Lydia Xyang