The New York Islanders are officially island boys again.
This weekend, the Islanders will play their first home games at UBS Arena, the team’s sparkling new $1.1 billion home in Elmont at Belmont Park, which sits adjacent to the racetrack.
It’s been a longtime coming for a team — and fanbase — forced to endure a failed six-year experiment playing in Brooklyn and part-time at the Nassau Coliseum.
The club, its investors, local civic leaders and elected officials this afternoon celebrated the completion of the highly anticipated arena with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky told the press he applied input from over 5,000 individuals when coming up with the plan for the perfect home for his team.
“Tomorrow when these doors open for the first game for the New York Islanders, I hope that we delivered to the fans,” Ledecky said.
The team faces off against the Calgary Flames tomorrow at 7 p.m., and then hosts Toronto on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The Islanders have had a grueling start to its 2021-22 season, playing 13 straight away games while construction crews put the finishing touches at the 19,000-seat arena, which boasts 56 luxury boxes.
“I have one word to describe this place: Wow!” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at the ribbon cutting.
Two years ago, the team broke ground on the project that has brought the Islanders back to Nassau County. Eventually, the site will include a retail village and hotel. A new LIRR train station was also partially completed at Belmont Park ahead of the Isles’ home opener.
Longtime NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called UBS Arena “as fine a venue as there is in the world.”
“No detail was overlooked,” he said.
In addition to Islander games, the facility host college basketball games, concerts and other forms of entertainment.
Scroll down to see a photo tour of the arena. Photos are by Nicholas Marchand.