Bye-bye Brooklyn, hello Belmont for Isles

Ruben Hill
December 21, 2017

The Islanders have reportedly been informed that their plan will be announced as the winning bid during a Wednesday press conference that will include NY governor Andrew Cuomo. "I believe the attendance will increase, I believe the passion will increase", Cuomo said.

"There's a lot of great Islanders fans that deserve a little shorter travel, so I think it's great".

Team owner Jon Ledecky was confident those issues would be resolved; he, fans and elected officials focused primarily on what they saw as a positive turning point for the team that won four straight championships in the 1980s but has failed to match that success in ensuing decades.

"Growing up in Queens, I can't be more excited that the New York Islanders will have a new address, here in the 11003 zip code, Elmont, NY", Ledecky said.

Empire State Development announced Wednesday morning that the Islanders' group, dubbed New York Arena Partners, which also includes Sterling Project Development and the Oak View Group, was the victor in what had dwindled down to a two-team race to land the coveted acreage surrounding the legendary horse-racing venue.

As part of the bid, the group has proposed an 18,000-seat arena that would be constructed along with a mix of development that includes a hotel, retail, and an innovation center. This is the biggest win the franchise has had since Game 4 of the 1983 Stanley Cup Final.

Ledecky, who called the announcement "a huge day for this franchise", agreed that "this will be more than an arena ... this site will be the home of economic development".

The Isles have played at Barclays Center since leaving Nassau Coliseum in 2015. Now the national and Canadian media will finally have to discuss the on the ice product.

"We're coming back because Long Island is coming back", the Islanders' majority owner added.

"When the Islanders left Long Island, it hurt".

"This will be more than an arena", Ledecky said. He expected to return to that number in the new arena.

"It's great news for the franchise, for us as players and our families, and certainly - and mostly - our fans and our fan base", Tavares said before picking up a pair of assists in Tuesday's loss.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who co-hosted a hearing on the dueling proposals last week, said the development would benefit Elmont, Floral Park and the communities surrounding Belmont Park. "They're going to have their own arena, an 18,000-seat arena that is designed for the Islanders, by the Islanders".

Bettman took to the podium and suggested he'd consider it - but only if Long Island's Piano Man agreed to open the yet-to-be-named Belmont Park arena.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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