Report: Islanders planning to submit bid for new arena at Belmont Park

The New York Islanders have plans to submit a bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park, N.Y., according to a Newsday report.

Belmont Park is a horse racing facility in Elmont, which is just outside New York City limits.

“Yes, there is an RFP [request for proposal] for Belmont and I know they are going to participate in that,” Bettman told reporters from The Associated Press on Friday. He also said that Willets Point, by Citi Field, could also be an option.

“I believe that everyone thinks there is a terrific opportunity there, if not at Willets Point, to create a more hockey friendly environment for the Islanders, which is something [team owner] Scott [Malkin] is committed to do,” Bettman said, marking the first public confirmation of the NHL team’s plans.

According to Newsday, the Islanders have also spoken with New York Mets ownership about a possible joint project.

The marriage between the Islanders and Barclays Center, which was built with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets in mind, has been flawed since the NHL club moved in two seasons ago.

Complaints of poor ice conditions, a large section of view-obstructed seating and low attendance have plagued the team, and a reported financial projection done back in January determined that the venue would generate more money without the Islanders.

The Islanders signed a 25-year lease agreement with their new home in 2012, but the two sides have the ability to opt out of the contract in January 2018 which would allow them to officially part ways following the 2018-19 season.

Rumours of alternate arena plans have circulated plenty over the past two seasons, with one such report involving the idea that the Islanders could return to Long Island and move back into a renovated Nassau Coliseum. Bettman said on Friday, however, that Nassau is “not a long-term option.”

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