Islanders' workout, dressing rooms severely damaged
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?"'
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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