ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Islanders will split their regular-season home games between Long Island's Nassau Coliseum and Brooklyn's Barclays Center beginning next year while a new arena is built at Belmont Park under an arrangement announced Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Islanders plan to play 12 games at the Coliseum in Nassau County next season, and 48 more games over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons. The new arena is expected to open in time for the following season.
"Let's rock the barn!" team owner Jon Ledecky said Monday, using a fan nickname for the Coliseum, where the Islanders played from 1972 until 2015, when they relocated to Brooklyn.
Fans expressed displeasure with that move, and last month the team announced plans for the facility on the grounds at Belmont, home of the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. The $1 billion project will also include a hotel, restaurants, meeting space and other amenities.
"We're going to fill all 18,000 seats when we open the NHL season at Belmont arena," Cuomo said.
To meet NHL venue requirements the state will invest $6 million in upgrades at the Coliseum. The work is expected to be finished this fall, in time for the start of next season.