NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Spent part of a lengthy interview on Thursday voicing support for the Islanders bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park and expressing faith in the ownership group of Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky.
It was the second time this week that the NHL’s head honcho has addressed the topic. Bettman spoke about it during NHL event in New York City on Tuesday and then was asked about it on Thursday during an interview on WFAN with Mike Francesa.
“With the (request for proposal) complete we’re waiting for the results of that,” Bettman said. “Hopefully in the not to distant future and if and when it’s approved they’ll be ready to go… It will be a great opportunity to develop that undeveloped track of land and the (train) track itself.”
The Islanders submitted a bid in September to develop the land at Belmont Park into an NHL venue, which would also be able to house basketball and concerts. Details about the specifics of the plan have been scarce since the bid was officially submitted, but Bettman said he expected the capacity of the potential arena to be around 17,500.
That figure would be an increase from both the capacity at Barclays Center for hockey as well as the capacity and the team’s old home at Nassau Coliseum. Bettman also reiterated that the team could not return to the renovated Nassau Coliseum, which had been downsized to a capacity of 13,000 for hockey.
“This has really been put together the right way,” Bettman said of the Islanders’ bid. “Scott Malkin, who I talk to regularly, is not only obsessed with the Islanders, great owner, committed. Has the resources, has the vision and has the ability to execute. I believe he’s going to get this done.”
Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky has said several times since the team submitted their bid that there is no plan B should the RFP fail. Bettman reiterated that point as well when asked about a backup plan.
The Islanders are one of three groups that submitted a bit to the State of New York. New York City Football Club and Blumenfeld Development Group also sent in proposals to the state.