NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The New York Islanders are coming back to Long Island, according to several sources who have been following the team's plans.
Hempstead Town Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen said she would have preferred to see the Islanders return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, but she is glad the state is paving the way for the team to at least relocate to Nassau County.
This is big news and a second chance for the Town of Hempstead because the new site would be at Belmont Park in Elmont.
The team reportedly beat out a submission from Major League Soccer's NYC Football Club. Plans would include building a state-of-the-art 18,000-seat hockey arena with shops, a hotel, community centers, as well as reopening the nearby LIRR Belmont Park station stop.
Officials stopping short of confirming it but said it will create jobs and contribute to economic development while benefiting all taxpayers. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday morning.
For more than 40 years, the Islanders played at the Nassau Coliseum. Attendance dropped drastically once the team moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. Coming back to Long Island would give fans what they want even if that means dealing with some traffic.
Where the Islanders would play while the new arena is being built is unclear. The team signed a 25-year lease to play at Barclays Center but sources said the team can opt out in January 2018.