Bettman: Isles need new building, and soon

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
10:00
AM ET
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been a staunch supporter of the Islanders' push for a new building and he reinforced his stance Monday 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."

With the team's lease expiring in 2015 and an estimated three years to build a new arena, Bettman said the clock is ticking.

"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."

Bettman said he believed the failed referendum on Aug. 1 -- a proposal to borrow $400 million from Nassau County -- was a casualty of poor timing, juxtaposed with an atmosphere "polluted" with contempt for Washington's economic problems.

"I think it broke down along political lines, as these things often do," Bettman said. "Which is unfortunate."
Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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