<
>

Islanders' workout, dressing rooms severely damaged

3/12/2006 - New York Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders dressing room
sustained severe damage when a sewage pipe burst at Nassau
Coliseum.

Calling it "devastating" the Islanders said that the team's
workout room was almost completely destroyed by flooding Saturday
night as the arena hosted an ice show.

The Islanders just started a five-game road trip and won't
return to the 34-year-old Coliseum until March 21, when they are
scheduled to play the Montreal Canadiens. There is little chance
that repairs will be completed before then, the team said.

Water started flooding the hallway where the Islanders and
visiting team locker rooms are located soon after the skating show
began. The ceiling in the workout room caved in, with debris and
sewage crashing on top of treadmills, stationary bicycles, and
other training equipment.

The flooding then spread into the Islanders' dressing room.
Workers wearing masks, boots and gloves spent three hours cleaning
up the mess.

"We could not believe it," an unidentified arena employee
said. "We've had plenty of problems over the last few years, but
it's usually stuff you can patch up. Not this. The flooding was out
of control. When they finally got the Islanders' locker room door
open, you wouldn't believe what it looked like in there."

An early estimate Sunday put repair costs at more than $1
million. It is the second time broken pipes have caused major
damage to the dressing room in less than a year. The first occurred
in August. Before this season, the team made significant
improvements to the Islanders dressing room but those were wiped
out.

Islanders owner Charles Wang wants a new arena and has received
support from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Wang announced earlier
this year that he is looking into an option to build an arena in
Suffolk County if Nassau County doesn't choose his bid on the
Coliseum property.

"The fans deserve better in terms of experience," Bettman said
at a January Islanders game. "If there was no team here and
somebody came to us and said, 'We'd like to bring a team to Nassau
Coliseum,' our answer would be, 'Are you kidding?"'