As the New York Islanders begin their mandatory bye week, some new developments have emerged about their new arena in Elmont, NY at Belmont Park.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday reported on Monday that an environmental review process will begin in March that could last between a year and 16 months. Only after that process will Belmont officially be designated to the Islanders, allowing them to break ground on the new arena.
The original goal from Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky was to break ground this spring, which would put the arena’s completion date on track for possibly the 2020-21 season.
Now, the Islanders might not be able to begin building their new home until mid-2019, which would mean the doors might not open until the 2021-22 or 2022-23 season.
This should do little to affect the team’s plans of opting out of their lease with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Per Baumbach, the Islanders and Barclays Center are beginning to discuss interim arena plans that would allow the team to leave either at the end of this season or the 2018-19 season, most likely.
The Nassau Coliseum could very well be the leading candidate considering the NHL is open to the team returning to the renovated venue that served as their home from 1972-2015.