If their proposed Belmont Park arena moves forward, the New York Islanders would make upgrades to Webster Bank Arena, home of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).
The Islanders are currently prioritizing an effort to construct a new arena in Belmont Park that would replace Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as their home. In September, the club and its partners–Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development—teamed up to submit a response to a request for proposal (RFP) to develop a venue on a site at Belmont Park.
While the bid is attracting plenty of attention, some questions remain to this point. Empire State Development–the agency overseeing the RFP process–has not publicly said when it will make a decision, and the Islanders are not the only option in the mix.
Should it move forward, however, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky indicates that a new Belmont Park arena would lead to the club affirming its commitment to Bridgeport and Webster Bank Arena. In that scenario, the Sound Tigers would see upgrades similar to those that were recently implemented at the Islanders’ renovated practice facility, the Northwell Health Ice Center. More from CTPost:
“We’re really focused on Belmont Park being our permanent home and, in turn, Bridgeport being our permanent home for the Sound Tigers,” Ledecky said.
“We’re making a statement about a substantial commitment,” Ledecky added. “We’re looking to send a more global message about the Sound Tigers and Bridgeport. We want to make sure the fans, not just Bridgeport but Islanders nation, know we’re committed to excellence up and down the organization.”
Some work was done at Webster Bank Arena this past summer. The Sound Tigers’ dressing room received new carpeting, some new photos and logos and links to the team’s past. The coaches’ and equipment manager’s offices also got work, and the gym got new flooring.
“Back of the house, players facilities,” Ledecky said, “we’d like to upgrade to the same standard we did at Northwell.”
As noted, the Islanders’ proposal is among multiple pitches on the table for the Belmont Park site. In fact, it is not the only sports venue-related plan in the mix, as MLS’s New York City FC partnered on a bid that includes a new soccer stadium.
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