Islanders owner Jon Ledecky on fans as UBS Arena opens: ‘This is their home’

Jon Ledecky was all smiles as he missed the remark deck close to the recently-dedicated seat for veterans of conflict. 

The New York Islanders owner has achieved what many others earlier than him couldn’t: Safe a long-term, state-of-the-art residence for the hockey membership whereas conserving them in Nassau County. 

UBS Arena’s doorways open to the NHL Saturday evening, giving fans a primary glimpse on the 18,000-seat, $1.1 billion venue that is strictly devoted to the Islanders — one thing the franchise has not skilled for the reason that opening of Nassau Coliseum 50 years in the past.

The highway to get this for the Islanders was arduous and lots bumpy. Opposing politicians, the placing down of the Lighthouse Challenge, rumors of shifting out of state (whether or not it’s Oklahoma Metropolis, Kansas Metropolis, or Quebec), and even an ill-fated transfer to Brooklyn dotted the previous 20 years of uncertainty.

However that’s all firmly within the rearview mirror, although there was only one extra little problem of getting UBS Arena constructed throughout a pandemic after floor broke on the challenge in September of 2019.

All of the extra purpose to have fun the doorways opening for Ledecky.

“The pandemic, all the different sacrifices that all of us had to make. For this to rise up and represent all that America and this area after the pandemic — what a great symbol of the resilience of New York, the resilience of the Metropolitan area, and the resilience of our fans,” Ledecky mentioned. “I’m so excited that we can host the Islanders fans… where they can have a proper home to watch the team play. It’s been a long time coming and a lot of people tried.”

UBS Arena | Photograph courtesy of the New York Islanders

Ledecky, co-owner Scott Malkin, and Oakview Group CEO Tim Leiweke weren’t simply in a position to hold the Islanders on Lengthy Island, toeing the Nassau, Queens border at Belmont Park in Elmont, however they managed to mix within the Islanders’ historical past and the tradition of New York. 

An expanded enviornment encompasses a ceiling that is solely seven toes greater than that of the Nassau Coliseum to make sure that the intimate really feel and deafening noise shall be carried over to UBS Arena. Images of glory days previous adorn the partitions, working intricately with designs which can be set to harken again the previous days of Grand Central Station and the unique Madison Sq. Backyard.

“I want them to appreciate that they’re at home. This is their home,” Ledecky mentioned. “We constructed this with a whole bunch of suggestions factors from each fan. We wandered across the Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Middle and took copious notes on what they wished.

“They wanted a supporters section, they wanted to be able to stand and enjoy the game together and have a meeting place. They gave us details far and wide, very niche things that we needed to do.”

That’s precisely what they’re getting.

UBS Arena is one of many premier sporting venues in North America whereas one way or the other, someway instituting all the pieces that the Islanders and their fan base are about: A blue-collar work ethic, an incurable ardour for hockey, and a tight-knit group that resembles household greater than fanaticism.

“Inclusion was the word that our fan base said. We want everyone to feel like they can participate and be a part of it,” Ledecky mentioned. “We don’t want to see corporate suits. We want to be part of the fans and they can interact with each other whether they’re buying the best seat in the house or the Bob Uecker seat [last row], the democratization of the fan base was incredibly important to them.”


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