LONG ISLAND - A journey three decades in the making came to an end on Friday as officials cut the ribbon on the brand-new UBS Arena in Elmont on Friday, beginning a new era for the New York Islanders.
"I think it’s fair to say this franchise has never been in better shape," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul was amongst the dignitaries welcoming the opening of the Islanders’ state-of-the-art $1.1 billion new home.
The arena will host its first Islanders home game on Saturday, November 20.
It will also host concerts and college basketball games, and aims to be the home of 150 live events each year.
From their beginnings at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the 1970s to the possibility of moving to Kansas City, followed by a temporary home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and then the return to a refurbished Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders and their fans have seen their fair share of changes and ups and downs.
The new arena is a product of hard work and dedication - built in two years during the middle of a pandemic. The arena and its surrounding campus is expected to generate roughly $25B in economic activity, including 3,000 permanent jobs. Its construction also means that the Long Island Rail Road Elmont Station, the first new LIRR station in almost 50 years, will open on Saturday as well.