As the holiday season approaches, the NY Islanders are embracing the cold weather and bringing hockey back to its roots. The organization announced yesterday that they are set to unveil "The Park" at UBS Arena on Dec. 27, in partnership with Northwell Health, the New York Racing Association, and USA Hockey.
The Park will feature two outdoor pond hockey rinks and a beer garden open to the public. The rinks will be available for public skates, host youth and adult pond hockey tournaments, Learn to Skate, and Learn to Play programs.
“The Islanders are proud to be part of this season’s outdoor Stadium Series game and look forward to expanding on this great platform by bringing pond hockey to our backyard,” Islanders executive vice president, Nick Pizzutello, said. “We are excited to give all Islanders fans the opportunity to bring our deep-rooted pregame traditions to UBS Arena.”
The Park will be located on the grounds of Belmont Park racetrack, directly next to the the Ruby and Silver parking lots. Construction on the rinks has already begun and will be ready for the school holiday recess.
While hockey fans around the world grow up learning the game on a frozen pond or lake, it's not something often seen on Long Island and will allow the community to embrace the game in ways they never have.
“This is the purest form of the sport, and it’s great that this experience is coming to The Park at UBS Arena,” said Islanders great and Hockey Hall of Famer Pat Lafontaine.
Islanders fans will also enjoy the space on gamedays, as MSG Networks plan to host pre-game shows from The Park, allowing patrons to gather around Thomas Hickey and Shannon Hogan before puck drop.
“The fresh air and energy of the crowd will create an unforgettable atmosphere for Islanders fans hanging out at The Park as well as our viewers,” said Hickey. “I can’t wait.”
Since the Islanders moved to UBS Arena from Nassau Coliseum, the organization has revamped the fan experience and The Park will now take that experience to the next level.