Despite the coronavirus leaving a severe impact on New York and Seattle, each market is still on track to open up new hockey arenas for the 2021-22 season. According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the new home venues of NHL Seattle and the New York Islanders are expected to have their opening dates stay on schedule despite pandemic-induced construction delays.
New Arena at Seattle Center faced a two-day construction delay in March due to the virus but has had work continue in recent weeks after being deemed an essential construction project by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
“We haven’t lost any time, and at the moment there’s no change to our schedule,” NHL Seattle’s vice president of corporate communications Katie Townsend told ESPN. “I think it’s something where we have to have contingency plans, and be working on them, but we don’t foresee it being a change in our schedule.”
Meanwhile in the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter of New York, work is set to continue shortly on the Islanders’ future home at Belmont Park. Governor Andrew Cuomo has rolled out a plan to slowly restart the state’s economy that begins with the resumption of construction projects.
“The governor has given some indication that selective construction will start up again in some time frame. So we’re ready to go again,” Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky revealed. “We’re working with the contractors. Obviously, the most important thing is that you adhere to social distancing and you make sure the people on site are taking care of themselves. It’s an open-air site, still, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to start the construction again when it’s appropriate.”
The Islanders broke ground on their $1.3 billion arena last September, while NHL Seattle launched construction of their $930 million project in January. The league’s newest expansion team is expected to announce their name, colors and logo shortly after delaying the unveiling due to the pandemic. In the meantime, the Islanders are enduring the ongoing NHL suspension.