The New York Islanders officially broke ground at Belmont Park and it was tremendous. I was in attendance and I’ll share my experience at the track today.
What a day it was for the New York Islanders and their fans. They “officially” broke ground at Belmont Park today at about 2:00 pm. I was there for the historic occasion and I’d like to share my experience with you guys.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the feature image of this article. If you look in the background there’s a guy in a blue polo lugging camera equipment around, that’s me.
Just last week we had a crossover between my radio and Islanders world and today it happened again as I was asked to go cover the event.
I was given the assignment at around 12:30 pm so I had to grab a bunch of equipment and rush to Elmont in an hour, it did not go well. When I arrived I was having trouble getting into the event with the credentials so I had to call my boss.
At that, Thomas Greiss, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech walk by and check-in. Thomas was friendly, I said hello and he just smiled and said hi back. It was a simple and small exchange and to be honest with you I was more focused on getting into the event but it was still nice of him to just acknowledge me and give me the time of day.
Finally, I get cleared to go in and Ross Johnston and Devon Toews walk right up. Security didn’t know who they were so they had to give them their names, which was kind of humorous, but as I walked passed I wished them luck this year and then we essentially walked into the grandstand together. Wild stuff.
After walking what felt like a half a mile we made it to the job site, as Governor Cuomo was speaking. So as I was setting up the camera, again half paying attention to my surroundings, Butch Goring and Brendan Burke just casual walk past to go into the event. Again, more focused on the camera at this point but just standing next to these guys doing a job was certainly an experience.
After both Cuomo and Jon Ledecky spoke, about how great of an opportunity it was for the Islanders they began to announce the Islanders players name. I have to give credit to Ledecky, he’s very charismatic.
After the groundbreaking ceremony with the politicians a media scrum broke out, ironically right in front of me, so we got to hear Jon Ledecky answer some questions regarding the new building. He was very adamant about providing a service to the fans.
Ledecky, and Scott Malkin too, are very aware of the wants and needs of the fans. That’s a good thing. They’re willing to go above and beyond to provide a good product and experience. In a town with some pretty rough ownership groups, the Islanders have one of the best in the city.
We were only getting started. After it started to clear out, I had an opportunity to put a shovel in the ground myself. Yes, we can say that Eyes on Isles was there and helped put the shovels in the ground to build Belmont Park.
That sentence doesn’t feel real after typing it yet here we are (weird career paths are fun).
After putting a shovel in the ground and heading back out, again, I was rewarded with having a walking buddy. This time it was Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders GM.
Did I really ask him about Josh Ho-Sang? Well, after being pretty open today about my experience let’s leave that one a mystery.
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Today was a fantastic day for the Islanders franchise and fans. Being a part of this day is something I will never forget, and it still hasn’t really sunk in just yet. Go to bed smiling Islanders fans, I know I will.