Should The Coliseum Be A Hub City Consideration?
With the widespread anticipation of the National Hockey League 2020-21 campaign set to drop the puck on January 13th, there are still some unknowns to this point in time. The biggest, and probably the most important unknown right now, will there be hub cities again? Multiple reports across the hockey nation have reported that Commissioner Gary Bettman, his colleagues, and the NHLPA are still highly considering a regular season and postseason bubble again.
In the case of there not being a bubble, I would still not expect fans to be in attendance. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL, and the MLB Postseason, the NHL does not have the luxury of having open roof venues, of course with the exception of outdoor games such as the Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, and the Stadium Series. With that being said, having fans at any capacity in a closed roof arena may not be an option, more for player health and safety. While an NHL season with no fans would not surprise me, I would also not be surprised if there was a limited attendance plan in place too, say maybe 20%?.
However, if the league does decide to go the bubble route, they will obviously need four bubbles at least, one for each division. So, where do the bubbles all go?
Call me crazy if you must, I’m used to it (coughcough Adam Pelech report card coughcough), but Nassau Coliseum should heavily be considered as one of these hubs.
For starters, the Marriott Hotel across the parking lot from the arena couldn’t possibly get any closer. When you take into account that the Garden City hotel is not very far away either, housing all teams could genuinely be a cakewalk for the league.
Next, you look at the ice availability. If you take into account the rumored NHL divisions for this NHL season, you would see the “USA D1” division consists of the Bruins, Sabres, Islanders, Rangers, Devils, Hurricanes, Flyers, and Capitals. So, with 8 teams, you theoretically would only need four rinks to be available for any type of use at a time. Counting the old barn, the Northwell Health practice facility houses two full-sized, NHL rinks. Going further, in about a ten-minute car ride from the Marriott, you have Cantiague Park ice facility, yet another full-sized NHL rink. If you’d like to look even further in, you have Bethpage ice rink, Freeport, the list could go on and on. Point being, there’s definitely no ice shortage on Long Island.
I know what most people are probably think about by this point. “The coliseum is too small for eight teams to be housed.” And yes, you aren’t entirely wrong. The coliseum is a very small arena, we all know it. But, take into consideration the fact that there are no concert tours, wrestling shows, or any type of arena based events going on right now. This could make for ample space throughout the coliseum for all teams to safely and hygienically store all player equipment and necessities throughout the arena. (Anyone who has been to the downstairs garage for the boat show or a blood drive knows exactly what I’m talking about)
Yes I know this is a long shot, and I know it probably won’t happen, but if the circumstances only allow for another round of NHL bubbles, I believe the Nassau Coliseum should greatly be considered for a hub city for the league.