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It’s Official: New York Islanders Heading Back To Long Island

Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
Gov. Cuomo poses with Long Island native Billy Joel and New York Islanders John Taveres, left, and Cal Clutterback at a news conference at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Wednesday, where he announced that the team will be coming back to Long Island.

The Islanders are coming back to Long Island.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state has approved the Islanders’ proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park in Nassau County.

The Islanders plan to build an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would host a 150 events annually. The proposal includes space for retail and a hotel.

Cuomo made the announcement before a crowd of Islanders fans.

“When the Islanders left Long Island, it hurt. It was sad. They were a big part of the identity and the culture of Long Island, and the Barclays Center is great, but they weren’t on Long Island anymore. And this is them coming home.”

Cuomo says the billion dollar investment to the area will create 3,000 permanent jobs.

“It is a win for the community, big economic development initiative. It’s going to utilize this great asset that has been underutilized for years. How many times I drove down the Cross Island Parkway and looked at this beautiful piece of real estate saying, ‘Why don’t they do something with it?’”

Construction will begin in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2020. The Islanders will play the next season at Barclays Center, and county officials are pushing for some home games after that to be played at the recently renovated Nassau Coliseum. But the NHL says that the Coliseum is not a suitable option.