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Newsday: Coliseum operator and Nassau County executive want to end penalty for not supplying hockey long-term

The Islanders' deal is not quite done.

Newsday's Robert Brodsky and Jim Baumbach had a scoop yesterday, in Laura Curran moves to end Islanders penalty clause. The new Nassau County executive, bowing to a request from Nassau Coliseum operator Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, says she supports killing the annual $1 million (and ultimately growing) penalty for not playing six required games per year at the Coliseum through 2027.

BS&E argues that the planned 60 games over the next three seasons at Nassau, during the construction of the new Belmont arena, make up for the promise. And they're playing hardball, saying that the latter plan is contingent on the the deal revision.

BS&E has some leverage here: the Islanders need a place to play, and if they can't play some games at Nassau, they'd likely face three more dreary season at the only alternative, the Barclays Center. That said, BS&E would rather get more events set at Nassau and allow alternatives bookings at Barclays.

Flexible interpretations

Curran has proposed (presumably at BS&E's request) a contract amendment that not only eliminates the penalty but also waives the requirement that the arena operators supply a minor league hockey team.

“This amendment fulfills a promise Nassau County Executive Curran made, and that is to guarantee that there will be hockey at the Coliseum,” county spokesman Mike Martino told Newsday, in a rather flexible interpretation of that guarantee.

The deal must be done by next Wednesday, given the deadline for the Islanders-Barclays negotiations.

In another flexible interpretation, BS&E CEO Brett Yormark wrote that it was “virtually unprecedented” for an American Hockey League team to play so close to a major league venue like Belmont. Newsday, however, noted that two major league and minor league teams--in San Jose and Winnipeg--actually share the same arena.

That said, the clause was written when the Islanders were supposed to be ensconced in Barclays.