The New York Islanders are on pace to call Long Island their home again earlier than expected.
The NHL team, which has invaded Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as a part-time home, will exclusively play home games on Long Island next season at Nassau Coliseum putting their relocation plan a year ahead of schedule. In 2021, the team will once again have a new home at the forthcoming Belmont Park Arena.
“The Islanders have always been Long Island’s team, and I’m proud to announce this iconic sports franchise will be coming home for good – one year ahead of schedule,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “This long-awaited homecoming will bring the Islanders back to their passionate fan base while generating energy and excitement from Long Islanders for the new Belmont Park Arena opening next year.”
Cuomo noted that the Islanders will return to Nassau Coliseum full-time beginning with the 2020 NHL Playoffs thanks to a $6 million state-funded project to update the facility up to modern standards. Renovations will be made to the team locker rooms, HVAC systems, setting up ice plant redundancy and installing new media equipment and cable infrastructure.
Further work is being put into the future Belmont Park Arena, which has already installed its entire concrete foundation and is approximately 20 percent complete with the installation of its steel structural beams. Plans for the arena, which was first announced 2017, also includes the development of a new station on the Long Island Rail Road for easy commuter access.
“We thank Barclays Center for playing host to the Islanders over the past five years and thank Islanders fans for their patience and loyalty while the League and the Club work together with the State of New York to build the new home this proud franchise needs and deserves,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
The Islanders currently stand at 35-21 for the season. Their remaining slate of Barclays Center games includes clashes with Montreal, Calgary, and Carolina.