New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that all “non-essential construction work will be stopped,” with focus shifting to building four new hospitals in the New York City area, to be prioritized instead. He said the state needs to increase the number of hospital beds from 53,000 to 140,000.
As a result of the governor’s executive order, the New York Islanders have subsequently halted all construction of their new arena at Belmont Park. On Friday night the Islanders released a statement regarding the construction status of Belmont Park Arena, which was supposed to be ready in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.
“We support Governor Cuomo’s efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 virus. He has been the driving force behind the construction of Belmont Park Arena,” Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said in the statement. “The progress that has been made since the groundbreaking is truly incredible and is a credit to all of the construction workers that have been there every day. Those workers are all a part of our community and we want them safe and healthy.”
“If construction restarts within a reasonable period, we expect to maintain our schedule and for the arena to be open for the 2021-22 NHL season,” said Richard Browne, Managing Partner of Sterling Project Development, which is handling the arena’s construction.
After playing at Barclays Center permanently for three years from 2015-2018, the Islanders have alternated games between there at Nassau Coliseum, their full-time home from 1972-2015, for the last two seasons. They announced earlier this year that they will play of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff games at Nassau Coliseum should they qualify.
Lou Lamoriello provides a statement on Belmont Park Arena. https://t.co/glaQ5Oh80k
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 28, 2020
The Islanders entered the NHL Pause one point out of the final wild-card spot with two games in hand on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently occupy that spot. The Islanders will likely play again if the 2019-20 NHL season resumes.
By Harrison Brown