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New York Islanders getting new arena at Belmont Park

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The Sports Xchange
New York Islanders Twitter
New York Islanders Twitter

The New York Islanders bid to build an arena at Belmont Park was selected by New York State on Wednesday.

The Islanders' proposal included an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would host 150 events annually as well as 435,000 square feet of space for retail, a hotel and a 10,000 square-foot "innovation center" that would be developed with resident input.

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The NHL team beat out a bid from the New York City FC soccer club, which planned on building a stadium on the site just east of New York City.

"The Islanders are back where they belong," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

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"I couldn't be more excited that the Islanders will have a new address in Elmont, N.Y.," co-owner Jon Ledecky said at Belmont Park on Wednesday. "Congratulations to you, the great fans of the New York Islanders. This day is for you."

The Islanders began playing at Nassau Coliseum in the team's first season in 1972. The team left in 2015 to play home games at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, which was not built for hockey. The team has been unhappy with the arrangement and can opt out of their 25-year licensing agreement in January.

"To keep the Islanders healthy, strong and on Long Island this project was essential," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "On behalf of the NHL, I cannot thank everyone enough for what it took to put this together."

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The move back to Long Island was music to the ears of captain John Tavares.

"For us as players and our fan base to have somewhere you know it's written in stone that we're going to have a home built for the Islanders on Long Island is pretty special," Tavares said. "The Islanders are called the Islanders for a reason. This is really where the team belongs."

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