by the people who built the arena.
“This will be our home, but it will always be your legacy,” he said. “UBS Arena will be first class and second to none.”
Joining Ledecky on stage were former Islanders stars Butch Goring, John Tonelli and Clark Gilles, all of whom helped the team win four Stanley Cups. They all signed the steel beam that was eventually lifted by crane to the highest point in the facility.
Ledecky said he and fellow co-owner Scott Malkin are “only temporary stewards” of the franchise. He said he sees their responsibility as protecting the team and building a community trust.
“We have an obligation to always do what’s right for the fans and Long Island,” he said. “That’s what UBS Arena is all about: protecting and growing the franchise for the future, while building up the community for generations to come.”
The Islanders initially left their longtime home at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 2015 after their lease expired, moving to the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn for several years.
Between 2018 and 2020, however, the team split their home schedule between the Barclays Center and the coliseum, which was closed for two years for a major renovation. The franchise plans to play their home games at the coliseum for the 2020-2021 season before moving to their new home at UBS Arena for the 2021-2022 season.
The Islanders co-owner said their new home will “stand as a beacon” of strength, hope, resilience, achievement and community. He said he hopes its development will reinvigorate New York’s economy and help the state come back stronger than ever before.
“We are so delighted that we can give you this permanent home,” Ledecky said in a message to Islanders fans. “There will be so many great nights here, so many great wins, and so much joy as we go and try to create the environment that’s necessary to win that fifth ring.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he was delighted to see the progress made with the arena.
“In a time of uncertainty, difficulty and really anxiety for so many people, this represents a point of normalcy,” Bettman said at the ceremony. “It gives us a hope and a prospect to focus on for our future, which will be bright.”