The New York Islanders are determined to move back to Nassau County, co-owner Jonathan Ledecky told a room full of Islanders beat reporters Tuesday.
During a luncheon, Ledecky said the team is focused on building a new arena at Belmont Park in Elmont three seasons into its 25-year agreement with Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“We are locked and loaded on Belmont,” Ledecky told reporters in Manhattan. “We have blinders on for Belmont. We are not looking at other places or other opportunities. We want to make Belmont a reality.”
The Islanders and the Barclays Center both have the option to opt-out of their agreement in January, Newsday reported.
The Islanders submitted a bid last month after Empire State Development Corp. put out a request for proposals in July to develop 36 acres of underutilized parking lot space. A bid for the same property was planned in 2012 but eventually scrapped, ESPN reported.
Newsday reported the new Coliseum was not in the running for the next Islanders arena, even temporarily, with Ledecky citing low capacity and a lack of luxury box suites after the $165 million renovation.
According to ESPN, many fans have complained about the views at the Barclays Center, including obstructed seats and poor sight lines for hockey.
“Barclays is a great place and it gets better year after year,” Ledecky told reporters. “Unfortunately when the facility was built, it was not built with hockey in mind. It’s not a facility in its current form that one could be in and have a successful place as a hockey team.”
Ledecky added, “The best home and the only home for the New York Islanders moving forward should be the Belmont arena.”