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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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September Pro Sports: That’s The Ticket

The Mets’ playoff hopes are long gone, and the Yankees’ appear bleak, but Nassau’s sports fans have options this month if they are ice hockey, soccer or thoroughbred horse racing fans.

The New York Islanders, coming off their best season in years, will play a pre-season game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m., against the New Jersey Devils. Less than a week later, on Friday, Sept. 27, also at 7 p.m., the Islanders return to the Nassau Coliseum to host a pre-season contest against the Nashville Predators. The Isles’ 2013-2014 regular season debut will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Prudential Center in Newark, where they’ll again face the Devils. The Islanders’ home opener is Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Nassau Coliseum against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) upcoming campaign will come to a halt for much of February 2014, as many of the league’s players compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Before the NHL goes on hiatus, however, the Islanders and New York Rangers will compete in an outdoor match at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Jan, 29, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. It’ll take place during an incredible sports week in the metropolitan area because the National Football League’s Super Bowl is being held on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) New York Cosmos, who have been drawing large crowds at their current home field, Hofstra University, are playing two more games this month at James Shuart Stadium in Hempstead. The Cosmos will face Minnesota United on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., and the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m.

In response to a Request for Proposals (RFP), the New York Cosmos submitted to the state’s Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) a plan to build a privately funded soccer stadium in Elmont, on a state-owned, 28-acre parcel that now serves as an often-empty parking lot for Belmont Park. Additional information on the concept, known as Elmont Town Crossings and which calls for much more than a stadium, can be found at www.newcosmosstadium.com

A separate proposal to construct a soccer stadium in Queens’ Flushing Meadow Corona Park is going nowhere, with candidates for citywide elective office correctly questioning the wisdom of developing parkland.

Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet began on Saturday, Sept. 7, and will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Thoroughbred horse racing had been taking place since late July at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. Belmont is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the fall, with the exception of Monday, Oct. 14, when the race track will be open for Columbus Day. It’ll then be closed on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The fall is traditionally the time of year when owners and trainers point their best horses toward the Breeders Cup, an annual, two-day event to be held this year on Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. One day on the Belmont calendar that stands out is Saturday, Sept. 28, when multiple Grade 1 races, the kind which draw Breeders Cup prospects, are being held.

If you’re looking to squeeze out one more 2013 summer sports memory, the Yankees are playing their final regular season home game on Thursday night, Sept. 26, against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Mets will bring down the curtain on their 2013 season on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net