Your Monday afternoon Islanders news, unless you’re waiting for the now former-GM-but-still-Leafs-”advisor” Lou Lamoriello to do something in his “intent to honor” that agreement that now sees his role reduced: The Islanders’ next home (well, the next one after the next one, which is their old one), the arena project in Belmont, is still on track.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday is on the arena beat and tweets that the alphabet soups thus far remain in alignment — which, in the arena development business, is never a sure thing, so:
NYI arena update: ESD told FOB they expect draft EIS - initial overload! - out by end of year and final EIS done by second quarter 2019. That means Belmont still on sked for groundbreaking next spring.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 30, 2018
(FOB is Franchise Oversight Board, which monitors NYRA & owns Belmont land.)
Yes, yes, acronyms. ESD. FOB. EIS. Anyway, what does this mean? Another day in which someone goes on record saying Belmont is on track. Two weeks ago it was Bettman. ESD is a little bit closer to situation. https://t.co/F5QzxnAFyX— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 30, 2018
For those averse to Scrabble, that means the Empire State Development (which awarded the RFP to redevelop the site to the group that would build an arena for the Islanders), has indicated to the Franchise Oversight Board that the all-important Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) draft should be done by the end of the year, with finalization by the second quarter of 2019.
That means, as Baumbach elaborates, things are still on track for a groundbreaking in spring 2019. Which is similar to what Gary Bettman said a couple of weeks ago, but then Bettman will always paint the most pro-league scenario until required otherwise.
Why does that matter to you, innocent Islanders fan patiently watching other teams do the hockey in late April while you lament your unchanging existence? Because as Baumbach previously reported in January, under the Islanders’ realistic but aggressive time frame would be able to play in a Belmont Arena by 2021-2022, if all goes according to plan. (Ha! Heh...)
So that means they’re still on course for the fourth year of John Tavares’ new contract (ha...) and the second year of Mathew Barzal’s next contract (ha-hrmph...).
I say year rather than seasons because...oh my Bossy there’s gonna be another lockout again, isn’t there? Why do we do this to ourselves again?
Doubt this is article-worthy (stares sadly in the mirror...hey, we needed an excuse to post “Ancient Lou is available except maybe not!” without actually making that a headline), but check Baumbach on Twitter or Newsday if there is to be more.