Could the Islanders be eying an exit from Brooklyn and a return to the heart of Long Island and Nassau County?
Newsday reported last week the Islanders are “in discussions with state officials” about possibly building a new hockey arena at Belmont Park. Newsday previously reported the Isles have had talks with the Wilpon family, the owners of the Mets, about a potential hockey arena next to Citi Field.
The Islanders left Nassau Coliseum – the team’s home for their first 42 seasons – following the 2014-15 NHL season and moved into the built-for-basketball Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
According to Newsday’s report, the team has met “several times” with officials from the New York Racing Association, which operates the race track.
At center of the talks is a vacant 28-acre parcel by Belmont’s south parking lot. According to Newsday, the Islanders aren’t the only potential suitor for the site.
Those interested in the spot include NASL’s New York Cosmos – who hope to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium along with a hotel and retail complex.
The Islanders recently completed a somewhat rocky first season in Brooklyn as players have complained of training in Long Island yet commuting to Brooklyn for game nights. Fans had lengthy complaints about the move from numerous obstructed view seats to the overall game experience.
Newsday and the New York Post has reported in the past that there is a trigger in the 25-year contract between Barclays and the team which would let the Islanders out of the deal after four seasons in Brooklyn.