The official announcement isn’t until Wednesday at 11 am, but the horse has already been let out of the barn, so to speak: the Islanders will be awarded the rights to build an arena at Belmont Park, per reports in Newsday and Bloomberg News.
Here’s Newsday from Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky:
The Islanders are coming home.
The hockey team was informed Tuesday that its proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park in Elmont was selected as the winning bid, according to people familiar with the situation.
And here’s Bloomberg via Scott Soshnick:
The New York Islanders have been awarded the right to build a new arena at the site of Belmont Park, according to people familiar with the matter, bringing the hockey team closer to its traditional Long Island fan base after an unsuccessful stint in Brooklyn.
It’s unknown if Newsday’s “people” are the same as Bloomberg’s “people,” but if The Muppets Take Manhattan taught us anything, it’s that “peoples is peoples.” So if they’re going with it, we might as well go with it, too.
Details are sketchy right now, so you’ll still want to see what tomorrow holds. We know the Islanders plan includes an 18,000-seat arena, a hotel and a retail village. We don’t know who’s paying for it or where they’ll play while the thing is built. They’re committed to one more season at Barclays Center and have until January 1 (which is, uh, close) to either renegotiate with Barclays or extend the deadline.
Re Barclays Center opt-out, now the 1/30 deadline means nothing. Of course they're opting out. The date that matters is 1/1 - that's when negotiating window on amending the lease (aka new short term deal) closes. They could always extend the window, too. But that's the next date.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) December 19, 2017
We all will have a lot more thoughts on this going forward (such as, “how can this go wrong?” or “where is the statue of John Tavares going?”). But for now, let’s just ponder this new chapter for a moment until we hear directly from Governor Cuomo tomorrow.