NHL commissioner Gary Bettman continued his support of the New York Islanders' quest for a new arena Tuesday during a radio interview with WFAN's Mike Francesa.
"I refuse to accept that this team is not going to get a new building at some point," Bettman said. "[Team owner] Charles Wang is committed to the Island, committed to the Islanders. He's devoted almost a decade of his life, tens of millions of dollars in pursuit of this and fortunately there are a few years left. They're not going to stay in the Nassau Coliseum no matter what, so we're going to need to come up with a solution somehow, somewhere."
The Islanders currently play in Nassau Colliseum, but the team's lease ends in 2015. That leaves three years to build a new arena, and Bettman said a plan needs to be hatched soon.
"The team needs a new building and there has to be concrete plans on the horizon that's going to get it done, otherwise we're going to have a problem," Bettman said. "I don't know exactly how we're going to solve that problem, but it's inconceivable to me that the Islanders wouldn't be on Long Island because it would be malpractice for those in charge to let that happen."
Nassau County voted against a $400 million referendum in August that would have replaced Nassau Colliseum and built a minor league baseball stadium nearby, but Bettman said the results of the vote don't necessarily mean the community is against a new hockey arena.
"I think it broke down along political lines, as these things often do," Bettman said. "Which is unfortunate."