No sleep until Belmont: Islanders’ new dwelling enviornment on horizon

NEW YORK — On a wet morning at Belmont Park, boots are an absolute necessity to trudge by way of the mud on the development website of the New York Islanders’ new enviornment.

It has been a slog to get so far, however brighter days are forward.

After greater than a decade of uncertainty about the place the Islanders will play their dwelling video games, together with an ill-fated stint in Brooklyn at an enviornment not constructed for hockey, they may open shiny, new UBS Enviornment this fall.

New York is taking part in this NHL postseason within the outdated barn that housed 4 Stanley Cup-winning groups in the course of the early Eighties glory days and the brand new enviornment is being constructed to copy Nassau Coliseum’s raucous home-ice benefit.

“It’s been a very long time coming,” 29-year-old fan James Chryssos stated. “It’s been unbelievable to look at it really come to fruition. All of the ups and downs from the Lighthouse Challenge to Barclays and all of the craziness. Lastly getting these shovels within the floor after which hopefully lastly getting within the seats, it’s going to really feel actual and that’s a sense that I can’t describe.”

The Lighthouse Challenge was geared toward remodeling the Coliseum earlier than it was nixed by Nassau County voters in 2011. The Islanders moved to Brooklyn’s Barclays Heart in 2015 to play in a constructing with an uncommon configuration; the scoreboard embarrassingly hung over a blue line as an alternative of heart ice.

Don’t fret: UBS Enviornment may have a model new video board in its rightful spot above the middle faceoff circle.

And the Islanders can be of their rightful spot on Lengthy Island, eight miles down the Hempstead Turnpike from Nassau Coliseum, centrally positioned amongst their most diehard followers. With a brand new, everlasting Lengthy Island Railroad station within the works and hundreds of parking spots, senior vp of gross sales Mike Cosentino stated the staff is weeks away from promoting out season tickets.

“You may really feel the joy,” Cosentino stated. “And this was even earlier than this staff has began playoffs. It’s pure enthusiasm for UBS Enviornment and the massive transfer and having a ceaselessly dwelling for our followers.”

Leaving Nassau Coliseum is a troublesome step for followers given the nostalgia. Not solely is there the connection to the early ‘80s dynasty but it surely boasts an old-school environment that doesn’t exist a lot within the NHL anymore even with a comparatively small capability of 13,917.

“It is a throwback constructing,” coach Barry Trotz stated. “Individuals are on prime of you. They really feel like they’re all nearer. They’re all sitting in your bench, mainly. And the brand new buildings have a vastness to it that doesn’t fairly really feel the identical.”

Not so quick in relation to UBS Enviornment. All the things from acoustics and the low ceiling — solely 3 ft larger than Nassau Coliseum, which opened in 1972 — to a giant decrease bowl surrounding the ice is designed to deliver the noise.

“It was constructed for hockey and made for music,” stated Peter Luukko, services chairman of Oak View Group, which manages the world. “We’ll have some sound-absorbing panels for live shows but in addition the power to be an awesome, loud barn for hockey.”

Nassau Coliseum has an environment even a hated opponent can love. After scoring an time beyond regulation winner to silence Islanders followers Thursday evening, Boston’s Brad Marchand stated: “They have been loud. They have been loud tonight. I’ll give them credit score. They have been loud.”

That loudness will not cease on the new constructing, which is anticipated to accommodate roughly 17,000 for hockey and needs to be full to the brim when it opens in November. The well-known “Sure! Sure! Sure!” and “Let’s Go Islanders!” chants will observe.

Luukko, who has additionally labored for the Philadelphia Flyers, described the Islanders fan base as “very Northeast” with a Lengthy Island twist. He’s pleased with followers sticking by way of some adversity to get so far.

“It’s no secret that there was some lean years,” Luukko stated. “There have been discussions of the staff probably even transferring. No finality on a house. Simply to see how that base has caught collectively and, pay attention, this enviornment’s going to promote out, it’s simply wonderful.”

UBS Enviornment is about to have a supporters part like soccer stadiums — on the finish the place the opponent can be on offense for 2 durations — and all of the bells and whistles that include trendy expertise. Gamers may have high-tech tubs, a two-floor health club and a lounge. Basic supervisor Lou Lamoriello’s enter included making the house locker room smaller for camaraderie.

Followers may have the selection of 56 suites and facilities nonexistent at Nassau Coliseum. The outdated concourses that squeeze followers collectively can be changed by open area on the new place with an entryway designed like Grand Central Terminal. The brick façade matches close by Belmont Park, which opened in 1905, and home windows provide a view of the New York skyline.

As soon as at their seats, followers can be near the ice like a throwback constructing of eras previous.

Luukko stated it was necessary that everybody from ice row to the highest deck really feel like they’re within the sport now that the Islanders will stay on Lengthy Island.

“It brings stability to the franchise when it comes to, ‘OK now we do have that dwelling, that everlasting dwelling,’” he stated. “It offers the followers a spot to go and that feeling actually that the Islanders are going to be on the Island ceaselessly.”


Comply with AP Hockey Author Stephen Whyno on Twitter at


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