‘Isles’ to make a robust start in UBS Arena


UBS Arena New York Islanders secure sponsor Image: UBS

The professional ice hockey team the New York Islanders and Northwell Health announced a 10-year sponsorship deal for the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park (US) on Tuesday.

The New York Islanders are a professional ice hockey team based in Uniondale, New York. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference.

Northwell Health is a non-profit integrated healthcare network that is New York State’s largest healthcare provider.

UBS Arena is one of the few arenas in the world built specifically for hockey and starting in the 2021-22 NHL seasons, and will be the new home of the New York Islanders who presently play in the Nassau Coliseum in New York.

“It’s an opportunity for two great organizations to come together to do things collectively for the benefit of the community at large,” said Northwell Health CEO and President Michael Dowling, whose company employs 25,000 on Long Island.

“We’ve had a 20-year relationship with the Islanders and I think the future looks unbelievably bright for Long Island because of what we can do together,” Dowling added.

In a recent joint Zoom teleconference, Dowling, Islanders’ co-owner Jon Ledecky and Tim Leiweke, CEO of eminent arena developer Oak View Group (OVG), touted how Northwell Health guided the health and safety precautions — air circulation and ventilation, sanitization, employee checkpoints — being developed for UBS Arena. Northwell Health also is the naming sponsor of the Islanders’ practice facility at East Meadow in New York.

Stephen Collins, COO, Oak View Group, US, will be one of the Speakers at the Coliseum Online Week US Worldwide, to be held from October 19-23, 2020.

Leiweke added, “They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about filtration. They take that and help teach us what we can do. We think we’ve got small spaces down at UBS Arena. We’ve come up with some good filtration, air circulation,

clean-air pumping into the system. It’s easier to do with 5,000-10,000-square feet. We’re working on the bowl. That’s the big issue here and we’re spending a lot of time thinking about it.”

UBS Arena will be able to accommodate 17,113 supporters for hockey, and is scheduled to open in the 2021-22 NHL seasons.

Leiweke said he expects construction of the roof to be completed by “the end of the calendar year”.

He added the arena already has “40 dates on hold”, for concerts and live entertainment in the fourth quarter of 2021 – “October, November, December, we’re going to be somewhere in that ballpark.”

There still remains a big question mark over the issue as to which extent the UBS Arena can be filled and whether it can be packed to capacity due to COVID-19 showing no signs of fading away in the United States and still carrying its onslaught in major parts of the world. The NHL completed its post-season in sequestered bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton minus fans in the stands and no date has been announced as yet for the start of next season, nor any word on when fans will be let into arenas.

Ledecky added, “I think one of the big tests is going to be the World Series.

The fact that they feel they can have 11,500 people in Arlington [Texas] for the National League Championship Series and the World Series will be a great test run. I’m going to be watching that very carefully to see how that goes. That is really necessary to get people thinking about going to live sports events again.”

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