The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that since opening their games to a limited number of fans, starting on Feb. 18 against the Philadelphia Flyers, the club has sold out their first seven games at the Nassau Coliseum.
That group of National Hockey League games, through April 9, includes three against the Flyers, two vs. the Washington Capitals, and a single affair pitting the Islanders against the rival New York Rangers.
“The response by our fans and season ticket members returning to Nassau Coliseum has been tremendous,” Mike Cosentino, the Islanders senior vice president of sales, told Sportico. “You can feel the excitement for the return of live Islanders Hockey.”
The final seven home games of the Islanders’ last season at the Coliseum will go on sale at a later date, when a decision may be made to expand capacity of the Coliseum based on evolving health and safety guidelines.
The Islanders lead the MassMutual East with 16 wins and 36 points after 26 games, just shy of the midway point of the abbreviated 56-game season.
The arena seats about 13,900 for hockey in its current configuration and the team sold about 1,400 tickets, based on the 10% capacity limit for all arenas and stadiums in the New York area set forth by health officials of New York State.
“We sold out of all inventory through to full season ticket members,” Cosentino added. “That exclusive access to limited seats is a great example of our commitment to provide exceptional value to our members.
The Rangers began drawing 1.800 fans at Madison Square Garden as of Feb. 26. But the Islanders waited until they could elevate health and safety conditions at the Coliseum before opening games to fans. The season began on Jan. 14.
“Season ticket members who did not have the opportunity to purchase tickets for these games will receive priority access for the next set of games, to be placed on sale later this month,” the club said in a release.
All fans attending any sporting event right now in the state of New York must pass a COVID-19 PCR test administered within 72 hours of the game.
The Islanders are planning to open UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season. The new $955 million arena is expected to seat nearly 19,000 for special events and about 17,000 for National Hockey League games.
The arena project will ultimately include retail components on 43 acres, owned by the state of New York, adjacent to the famous horse racing track. Set between JFK and LaGuardia airports and just 15 minutes by freeway from Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, it will be the metropolitan area’s only arena built specifically for hockey.
The Coliseum, opened in 1972, is nine miles further out on Long Island in Hempstead, N.Y.
(This story has corrected the number of fans at Madison Square Garden to 1,800, not 5,000, in the eighth paragraph.)