If flailing attendance and an aging facility don’t force the New York Islanders to the Barclays Center, an asbestos scare at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum might be the final impetus. The Brooklyn Paper reported that a state investigation found the arena has small amounts of the fiber, in seating areas, hallways and catwalks, that’s believed to cause cancer.
The investigation was in response to a lawsuit filed by employees of the sports complex. If the substance isn’t removed by the start of next year’s hockey team, the Islanders would be forced to play their games elsewhere. And experts note that even if it is declared asbestos-free customers may be permanently scared away from the Coliseum.
The team has repeatedly attempted to build a new stadium in Nassau County to no avail, and because of an agreement with the National Hockey League that requires the team play its home games through 2015 on Long Island — which includes Brooklyn — the Barclays Center is the next logical choice.
With a hockey rink in place, the Brooklyn arena would only fit 14,500 patrons, making it the smallest venue in the league. But the Islanders average just 11,000 fans per game. The Islanders already have a preseason game scheduled against the Devils in the arena this fall. [Brooklyn Paper]