Lou Lamoriello understands that the NHL arenas of the new generation have not replicated the cozy feel of the buildings they replaced. He believes the Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park will be different.
“I think what you’re going to see is a Coliseum atmosphere in a new facility,” the Islanders president and general manager said in a videoconference with season-ticket holders made public by the team Friday.
Lamoriello also was asked about the benefits to the organization of moving from NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum to the Belmont Park arena.
“This is state of the art,” he said. “I think that when the fans see the results, they’re going to be ecstatic.
“I think the major point of it is it’s going to be a hockey facility,” Lamoriello added. “They’ve paid 100% attention to the atmosphere in the building, the way the seats are located for the hockey experience and tight to the arena. It’s not like some of these new arenas. When you talk about old arenas, you talk about Boston Garden. But you go to a new arena, everybody says it doesn’t have the same atmosphere. You’re going to see a Coliseum atmosphere.”
Work resumed at the Belmont Park construction site on May 27 after a two-month halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Islanders are targeting October 2021 to open their new arena, which will seat 17,113 for hockey and is the focal point of a $1.3 billion project that includes a 250-room hotel and 350,000 square feet of retail.
Lamoriello also informed the participants in the videoconference that he saw top-pair defenseman Adam Pelech, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury on Jan. 2, skating Wednesday at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. Through a team spokesman on Friday, Lamoriello told Newsday that Pelech will be available for the start of training camp.
The team’s practice facility reopened to players on a voluntary basis Monday as part of Phase 2 in the NHL’s return-to-play plan. No more than six players can be in the building at once and they cannot work with coaches. Phase 3, the start of formal training camps, will begin July 10.
The seventh-seeded Islanders will face the 10th-seeded Florida Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying series for a berth in the 16-team NHL playoffs.
Lamoriello said the NHL has not yet set a roster limit for training camps.
“There’s still a lot of details that have to be worked out,” he said. “If I had to make a guess, we’d probably have a roster of six lines, four sets of defense and as many goalies as we want, because they wouldn’t want to run into a situation they had in Toronto with not having a spare goalie.”
The Carolina Hurricanes were forced to use emergency backup goalie David Ayres, 42, in the second and third periods of a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Feb. 22 after James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured.