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New York Islanders Expect to Begin 2021-22 on Road as [Bank of some Sort] Arena is Completed

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A delayed housewarming, rather than an extended Coliseum farewell?

Construction of the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York
Eagerly awaiting completion
Photo by Alejandra Villa Loraca/Newsday via Getty Images

The New York Islanders expect to open the 2021-22 season with a long road trip while preparation for the opening of their new arena at Belmont Park is completed.

That was the word from GM Lou Lamoriello during his post-season media availability.

What the timetable is remains “fluid,” Lamoriello said, and even as the Islanders closed out — maybe? — their last games at Nassau Coliseum (for real this time?), many wondered whether they would play some games there next season while USB Arena is completed.

But Lamoriello seemed to quash that idea Tuesday.

The Islanders certainly have an advantage over the majority of teams in the league in that, as Lamoriello noted, they have so many teams a short distance away from home. So if they knocked out a traditional Western road trip early and then also compiled games against teams in the east, they might not feel the same effects as other teams that have hit the road due to new arenas or, well, circuses.

Overall, if they can pull this off, it’s for the best. The Coliseum has seen a pretty fine farewell — albeit short of the long-sought fifth Cup — with two exciting wins in the conference final and Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal in Game 6 being its potentially last Isles moment.

The Isles have built a lot of hype for the opening of their long-awaited new arena, and have reported selling out their stack of regular season tickets. They’ll want to be able to deliver a full product to those subscribers — and the always-important corporate partners and luxury box occupants — that includes a full regular season schedule.

(And as for preseason games, Lamoriello said any home preseason games would be played in Bridgeport.)

No doubt Lou is checking every day for updates and plans on arena construction. The date of the opener is a “moving target,” but the desired target is very clear.