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Isles president thinks NHL season will resume (unlikely); construction pause makes October 2021 Belmont arena opening tougher

Islanders president Lou Lamoriello 'extremely optimistic' NHL season will resume, Newsday reported 4/2/20:
“I’m extremely optimistic that we will play at some time as far as this season,” Lamoriello told Newsday on Thursday. “Whether it’s in June, whether it’s in July, whether it’s in August, I’m not thinking about that. I’m just thinking, in my mind, knowing that we will play and using this time to get ready for that.
Even if arenas become available in August, that strikes me as quite unlikely, and fans responded similarly.
How much will new arena be delayed?

Another optimistic quote regards the suspension, for a yet-unclear stretch, of nonessential construction:
Lamoriello also said, “We’re not concerned right now,” that construction being forced to stop on the arena at Belmont Park will impact the timetable to open the team’s new building for 2021-22.
"Not concerned right now" might also be interpreted as "we have more pressing issues on our mind."

Newsday's Jim Baumbach reported 3/27/20 that "Construction began on the arena in August [2019] and was expected to take 26 months, putting the opening in line with the start of the team's NHL season that October," with a lease saying substantial completion was expected by Oct. 5, 2021. Presumably that lease has a force majeure extension.

Note that the groundbreaking was 9/23/19, which, if that had truly been the construction start, would've put the arena behind schedule.

Also note that 26 months is a best-case scenario. Newsday's Baumbach reported 1/15/18 that the arena "is expected to take 26 to 30 months to be built."

That said, as Dan Saraceni observed on Lighthouse Hockey, "Thanks to a very mild winter, it seemed like construction may have been ahead of schedule already." (That point was also made on a Newsday podcast with Baumbach and Andrew Gross, with the additional point that work next year will be inside.)

Yes, an accelerated construction schedule could save time, but presumably any further delay makes an opening at the start of the 2021-22 season even less likely.

Options for delay

Note that, as Chris Botta reported 7/20/18 for IslandersPointBlank that, if Belmont is delayed, the Islanders have the contractual option to continue playing at the Nassau Coliseum for at least two years.

“If construction restarts within a reasonable period, we expect to maintain our schedule and for the arena to be open for the 2021-22 NHL season,” arena builder Richard Browne told Newsday. Note the wiggle room in his phrasing: that "season" could mean a 2022 opening.

That leaves some stopgap options: a partial season at the Coliseum, and/or an extended road trip to start the season.

About the Coliseum

At 26:44 of the podcast, Gross asked Baumbach, "Is this a twist in the Coliseum's future?"

"Their future was definitely jeopardized by Belmont," Baumbach responded. He added that, on top of concerns about an arena glut, concerns about dense gatherings, in the wake of the pandemic, make it less likely to for people to gather at large events.

"Maybe small-size concerts are in," he said, musing that that would help the Coliseum--but then corrected himself to think that social distancing might work against that.

I think Belmont and the Coliseum were always going to compete for most concerts, because few of them exceed the capacity of the Coliseum.

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