Islanders Set to Come Back to Long Island

Islanders+Set+to+Come+Back+to+Long+Island

Samantha Stoll, Staff Writer

The New York Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum for over 43 years before they moved to the Barclays Center in 2015. However, their fan count lowered to the lowest in the NHL, with the team averaging about 12,000 a game. With a fan base mainly from Long Island, they have made the decision to return home and split the season between Nassau and Barclays while they build a brand new stadium in Belmont Park.

Next to Belmont Park they are building a new stadium which will hold 18,000 people. Since the team shares the stadium with the Brooklyn Nets, the seats are not always optimal for hockey viewing and there have been frequent complaints about the quality of the ice. Changing between a basketball stadium and a hockey rink during the same season has proven to be a challenge. As a result of these issues, along with the low attendance, they made an executive decision to build a new stadium. Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2019 and should be finished and ready for the 2021-22 season. According to The New York Times, the new arena is set to host 41 home games a season. Co-owner of the Islanders Jon Ledecky has not announced how much it will cost, but it will be built using private funds. They also are going to use it as a concert hall during the offseason and from May to October it will be used for horse racing. Another upside to the new stadium is its convenient location near the Belmont LIRR stop, which allows for easy transportation by train and helps the railroad by more people stopping at the Belmont station.

The Islanders returning home finally puts hockey fans at ease. With them back on Long Island at a more accessible location, fan attendance will no doubt increase. For the next three seasons, while awaiting their new stadium, they will be splitting their home games between Brooklyn and Uniondale.

 

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license