While the New York Islanders continue their wait to hear back from New York State on whether or not they can develop the land at Belmont Park into a new state-of-the-art arena, the team found a big supporter in the possibility of a move back east from Brooklyn.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking before an NHL 100th anniversary event on Tuesday night (via Newsday), reassured Islanders fans that their team is doing everything they can to stay close to home.
"[Co-owners] Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky are doing everything they can to get the Islanders the new arena that they need so badly, and I remain the optimist that this can come to fruition on a timely basis," Bettman said. "I think [a move to Belmont] would be great. I think it would be great for the Islanders. I think it would be great for the people of greater New York. I think it would be great for Long Island."
Long Island (more specifically Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead) lost the Islanders following the 2014-15 season after a roadblock of politicians (sometimes corrupt) kept former owner Charles Wang from renovating Nassau Coliseum to a more modern state.
The Islanders instead moved to the Barclays Center where a basketball-first arena has not been the most hospitable of venues, forcing both the team and arena to get out of their agreement. The team can stay in the arena until the end of the 2018-19 season.
Ledecky, Malkin and development company Oak View Group submitted their proposal for the Belmont site on Sept. 28, the deadline day set by New York State.
The land up for grabs in Elmont, NY is 43 acres and just seven miles down Hempstead Turnpike from the team's former home in Uniondale.