Islanders raise the curtain at Belmont Park Arena

It all started with the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 1972, when a collection of players were separated from other National Hockey League teams – when they were partly owned by a man who also owned the New York Nets and became infamous for selling the upcoming Hall of Famer to Julius Erving. For the NBA series.

About 49 years later, during a glorious era in the early 1980s, when the Islanders won four Stanley Cup championships in a row and most recently during five unsatisfactory seasons when they played in Brooklyn, the Islanders have a new, glittering, state-of-the-art home in Nassau County.

After saying goodbye to a long-standing arena in Uniondale at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in June, the islanders are ready to start their new residence about seven miles away and along a litany of traffic lights on the New York border at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, where the $ 1.1 billion UBS Arena awaits them.

November 20 is Islanders ’first game in a new arena, and combined with a utility concert at UBS on November 19 featuring legendary rock band Chicago, it will raise the curtain for the official change of one of Thoroughbred’s most iconic and well-known series. dear facilities as a leading sports and entertainment destination.

“(Long Island) is coming back, and that’s why the Islanders are coming back, and we’re investing a billion dollars in this state-of-the-art renovation of Belmont Park,” Islanders majority owner Jon Ledecky said on December 20, 2017. development company Empire State Development. “For Elmont’s large community, this is more than an arena. This site is home to economic development.”

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Located directly behind Belmont Parkn the auditorium near the quarter pole in the former track parking lot, the arena will bring 17,000 fans to the complex on Saturday night and a similar crowd through a regular season of 41 home games that could easily reach the playoffs that may date NYRA Bets (G1) to Belmont Stakes on June 11th – like last season .

At Belmont Park, it brings to life a complex of electricity and activity that was justified in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but is now seen only once a year. At the same time, it finally offers islanders an ideal location for their Long Island loyalists and fans to stay in the three states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, offering fans a full range of popular, luxurious amenities and hockey-tailored attractions.

“Belmont Park is the most strategic place to reach New York’s largest addressable ticket audience,” said Bryan Calka, vice president of global partnerships for Islanders for the past 1 1/2 years. “We know we’re always a Long Island team, but now we can become a Metro New York team in this place and also focus on New Jersey, Connecticut and Westchester and all the other areas where we know there are Islanders fans and fans. Maybe we weren’t completely reached them earlier. That’s why we wanted this place for this project. “

Islanders have shared the arena with the basketball team and rock stars in recent years, but the move to Belmont Park will give them a new kind of roommate on more than 1,000 of the world’s best thoroughbred and sport-leading year-round racetracks. .

For both Islanders and the New York Racing Association, this arrangement has created a new operating dynamic with a learning curve that both parties work together to master.

“The relationship between Arena, NYRA and Islanders has been a fantastic relationship since day one,” Calka said. “We are very pleased with the way it has progressed and progressed.”

Sharing space with the racetrack may be a new experience for the Islanders, but Calka says they have benefits for both parties.

“The advantage of sharing with the racetrack is that the Belmont Park campus as a whole becomes a destination for sports, lifestyle, art, and of course horse racing is part of it,” Calka said. “Belmont Park will become even more established over time as the shopping village (on the south car park opposite Hempstead Turnpike with a new tiered garage) is finally built after the opening of the arena, and will continue to focus on how the campus and race track are a destination.”

Calka also said the relationship between the NYRA and Islanders is suitable for joint marketing projects in a timely manner, but since the competition is not scheduled to continue in Belmont Park until late April, there is nothing special at the moment.

UBS Arena - Furnishings
Photo: DaSilva Photos

The interior of the UBS Arena

“NYRA has been a great partner for us throughout the process, and there are plans to continue working with NYRA on marketing and activation plans,” Calka said.

While racetrack fans have seen the arena rise from the ground over the past two years, for some hockey fans, it’s a relatively new experience as they walk inside the gates of Belmont Park, where the arena’s facade was built. to reflect the spectator architecture of the race track. Calka said ticket holders ’first response to the complex has been positive as the time for the first disc drop approaches and a new and exciting era arrives on the 116-year-old racetrack.

“So far, the feedback we’ve received from tours of the UBS arena and park has been just excellent,” Calka said. “We get really positive information and data points from our fans that tell us we made the right decision when choosing this place.”


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