Ratner was asked about the recent news that the NHL and Madison Square Garden would each have to approve the Islanders playing six games at the Coliseum after they move to Brooklyn. This stems from Articles 4.2 and 4.3 of the NHL’s Constitution, according to ESPN.
“The NHL has to approve it,” Ratner replied, dodging MSG’s possible involvement in the process. “Given the fact that the team has been there before, the fans are gonna want it, I’m sure [the NHL will] approve it.”
Previous to that, the Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner also fielded a question about ‘stealing’ the Islanders. Host Tom Keene said a few Long Islanders had expressed to him a sentiment that Ratner and his group, now attempting to develop the Coliseum, were ‘stealing’ the Islanders by taking them to the Barclays Center and ‘abandoning’ Long Island.
“The opposite!” Ratner exclaimed in response. “Basically what you have is the Islanders would have left this state. Charles Wang is really a hero here in the sense that he got offers to buy that team and move them out of state. What we really did together is save them, here, for New York State and we’re only a Long Island Railroad ride away. It’s very easy to get to. On top of that we’re going to play six games in Nassau if we wind up doing the Coliseum.”
Ratner and his group have unveiled an ambitious plan to completely revamp how the Coliseum looks. They are competing with three other groups for the right to make their plan reality, including one group headed by Madison Square Garden.
On the show, Ratner said that his group is “going to do the kind of architecture that we did at Barclays,” with the Coliseum. He also said that he felt the arena “is in a great location and it’s actually a pretty good arena in terms of sightlines, but it’s old.”
He also said that the main reason he and his group are getting into the arena business is because in the digital world, the future is live entertainment and live content.
When the Barclays Center first opened its doors, Brooklyn native and rap superstar Jay-Z kicked started the arena off with eight sold out shows. When asked if there would be a similar celebrity to open at Nassau Coliseum if the plan goes though, Ratner couldn’t discuss it, but said “of course we might.”