There has been plenty of hype around the opening of the New York Islanders new home at UBS Arena, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was more than happy to fan the flames some more as the season quickly approaches.
Bettman was making an appearance on Carton & Roberts on WFAN in New York when the conversation shifted towards the Islanders and their new home rink. The NHL commissioner called the new building “sensational.”
“Fans of the Islanders, people who live in the metropolitan area particularly on Long Island, are going to love it,” Bettman said. “It’s just a spectacular arena and Lou Lamoriello has gotten this team extraordinarily competitive. I was in the Nassau Coliseum when fans were allowed back in and during the playoffs. They have been having a great run and it is a really good time to be an Islanders fan.”
The New York Islanders will host their first game at UBS Arena more than a month after the season starts on Nov. 20 against the Calgary Flames. Construction has been ongoing on the new arena and November had been the expected opening date for some time.
The construction does force the Islanders to play their first 13 games of the season on the road before finally getting to step on home ice. Bettman expects everyone to be blown away when they do finally get to skate on the ice at UBS Arena.
“The new building is going to be loud, it’s going to be full and it’s going to be exciting,” Bettman said.
The opening of UBS Arena means that speculation will begin whether the new barn and the Islanders would get to host an All-Star Game in the future. The Islanders haven’t hosted one since the 1983 NHL All-Star Game at Nassau Coliseum.
Bettman told WFAN host Craig Carton that the league tries to get to every arena for an event and added that “having events in the New York, New Jersey Metropolitan area is certainly something that’s on the table.”
While the Islanders inch closer to opening their new home and end decades of uncertainty for the franchise, the Arizona Coyotes drama continued to play out on Thursday after the City of Glendale announced it was opting out of its joint lease agreement with the team for Gila River Arena.
Like the Islanders, the Arizona Coyotes have been trying to resolve its longtime arena issue. Thursday’s news meant that the team would be booted from Gila River Arena. Bettman didn’t appear concerned over the news.
“I don’t think the Coyotes franchise is going anywhere,” Bettman said. “I think the city of Glendale is negotiating. There’s no secret that Alex Meruelo, who is the owner of the Coyotes, is looking at his options to build a new arena somewhere else in greater Pheonix. … I’m not worried about the Coyotes.”
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