Governor Cuomo Announces New York Islanders To Return To Long Island Next Season - Three Years Ahead Of Schedule

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  29. January 2018

Albany, NY - January 29, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York Islanders will return home to Long Island in Fall 2018 - three years ahead of schedule. The Governor welcomed the Islanders back to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum where they will play 60 pre-season and regular home games, nearly half of all home games, over the next three years while construction on their new permanent home - a state-of-the-art 18,000-seat arena at Belmont Park - is completed. The new $1 billion redeveloped Belmont Park, which is entirely privately funded, will serve as an internationally recognized destination for sports, entertainment, retail and hospitality, while strengthening the local economy and boosting tourism. 
"The Islanders' long-awaited homecoming will bring jobs, economic activity and an iconic team back to their biggest fans," Governor Cuomo said. "By playing games at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders will build momentum and excitement for the transformational redevelopment of Belmont Park."
Beginning in October 2018, the New York Islanders have agreed to play 12 games at the Coliseum during the regular season, and 48 games over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons. Construction on the transformational redevelopment of Belmont Park, including an NHL-ready sports and entertainment arena, is anticipated to commence in 2019. The New York Islanders will play their first regular season game at Belmont Park during the 2021-2022 season. The Islanders currently play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will serve as the other home arena for the team over the next three seasons.
New York State will invest $6 million in enhancements at the Coliseum to meet NHL requirements, specifically investing in ice plant redundancy and dehumidification, and media and broadcast cabling infrastructure. The improvements are expected to be completed by Fall 2018. Games will commence at the Coliseum subject to the legislature's approval of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment's lease amendment with the County and the Islanders. The state will work with Nassau County to facilitate additional enhancements. These investments are in support of larger and long-term improvements in and around the Nassau Hub and Coliseum.
In December 2017, Governor Cuomo unveiled the 10th proposal of his 2018 State of the State: Bringing the New York Islanders home to Long Island with a world-class, year-round sports and entertainment destination at Belmont Park. At an event at Belmont Park Race Track, the Governor announced the selection of New York Arena Partners, a joint venture among Sterling Equities, the Scott Malkin Group, Madison Square Garden and the Oak View Group, to lead the transformational redevelopment effort. The new facility will feature an 18,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, a 435,000-square-foot world-class retail, recreation and hospitality complex, a premium full-service hotel, and other community amenities.
The state-of-the-art project is expected to create 12,300 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs. To accommodate New Yorkers and visitors traveling to the brand new facility, the Long Island Rail Road is committed to developing a plan to expand LIRR service to Belmont Park Station for events year-round. The plan by NYAP remains subject to contractual negotiations, ESD Board of Director review, Franchise Oversight Board review, and all public approval requirements.
The Islanders have been a force in the NHL since their opening season in 1972 and are one of only three teams to win four or more consecutive Stanley Cups (1980-1983). The 18,000-seat arena will feature the best in operational systems like ice management, quality spectator sightlines, and generous team facilities. The mixed-use facility will be constructed with the expectation of hosting other major events, including concerts, college sports, conferences, family events and programming year-round.
The redevelopment of Belmont Park builds on the Governor's historic $6.6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road. Under this transformative plan, 100 LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and grade crossing eliminations strengthening the region's transportation infrastructure, and ushering in a new era of economic growth in Long Island.  
"We greatly appreciate Governor Cuomo's efforts on behalf of the Islanders, their fans and Nassau County," National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "As the Islanders create a magnificent new home for their future at Belmont, the NHL supports the measures taken to allow the Islanders' part-time, temporary return to the site of their dynastic glory."
Islanders Owner Jon Ledecky said, "The Governor's commitment to Long Island is apparent in his vision that the Isles play many of their home games at the Coliseum while the new Belmont Park Arena is being built. We share the Governor's belief in the Long Island economy, as demonstrated by our investment in the new arena, and are thrilled for the team to be "returning home."
"Today is most importantly a celebration for the fans in bringing the Islanders back to Long Island," said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. "Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in making this happen. I'm happy that all of the parties involved could rally around our vision to have the team return to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum."
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, "The good news just keeps on coming for Long Island and its hardworking, middle class families. While they await construction of a beautiful new arena at Belmont Park, this agreement will allow the Islanders to play home games once again at the Nassau Coliseum, bringing them back to Long Island and to the site of their four consecutive Stanley Cup victories. I thank the Governor and each of our partners in government, along with the Islanders and all those who made this possible. As someone who was born and raised here and chose to raise his family here, I am thrilled for the future of professional hockey on Long Island."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Nassau County is thrilled to welcome the Islanders back home this year, and thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the redevelopment of Belmont Park will create thousands of new jobs for our hard-working men and women. This is not only about hockey. It is about growing the tax place, creating jobs, improving the community, and putting 'Nassau in the right direction. It is time that the Islanders come home and we thank the governor for helping make that happen.
Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said, "We look forward to seeing hotels booked, restaurants filled, and not an empty seat in the Coliseum this fall as the Islanders once again hit the ice here on Long Island. I invite everyone to come catch a game as we continue to build momentum for a new season and new future at Belmont Park."
Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature Richard Nicolello said, "On behalf of the Legislative Majority, I thank Governor Cuomo for his personal involvement and commitment of State funds to bring the Islanders home."

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