NHL’s Islanders to build new arena at Belmont Park
December 20, 2017 10:03 AM
by Robert Mann
It will be hockey and horses at Belmont Park where the NHL’s Islanders are returning to Long Island to a new facility at the iconic thoroughbred track.
After three seasons with problematical ice conditions at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a New York development agency has awarded the Islanders rights to a land parcel at Belmont Park for their new arena.
The team was competing with MLS’ New York City FC, who wanted the rights to build a 26,000-seat stadium at the site.
The Islanders’ plan proposes an 18,000-seat arena that will include an entertainment hub, hotel and retail village. The team is now in the process of extricating itself from a 25-year lease at the Barclays Center.
The arena with a retail component would not impact racing because it will be situated in a little-used overflow parking lot sometimes utilized by auto dealerships for storage.
Nassau Coliseum, about 10 miles from Belmont Park, was home to the Islanders for 43 years before moving to Brooklyn in 2015. The Islanders are committed to play at Barclays through 2018-19.
Industry observers believe the move will have a positive impact for horseracing by attracting prospective new fans to the Belmont Park complex.