The New York Islanders, alongside Northwell Health, USA Hockey, and the New York Racing Association announced the opening of The Park at UBS Arena, a 155,800 square-foot “season-long outdoor experience” that will feature the first two public pond hockey rinks to the community.
The facility is set to open on Dec. 27 where Dan Craig, who spent 23 years as the NHL’s Facilities Operations Manager and oversaw the ice at more than 30 NHL outdoor games, is overseeing the ponds.
“The Islanders are proud to be part of this season’s outdoor Stadium Series game (Feb. 18 vs. Rangers) and look forward to expanding on this great platform by bringing pond hockey to our backyard,” team 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.”
On game nights, The Park at UBS Arena will host MSG Network’s pregame show where fans will get a front-row seat to provide a College Gameday-like experience.
“There’s nothing like broadcasting from the crisp outdoors,” MSG Network pregame host, Shannon Hogan, said. “The pregame show from The Park is going to be an incredible experience to be a part of and I know the fans are going to love it, too.”
When the Islanders aren’t in town, one of the rinks will host 4-on-4 tournaments following USA Hockey guidelines. The second rink will host educational programs. Ninety-minute public-skate sessions will also be offered.
In between the two ponds will be a beer garden featuring lawn games and fire pits which will also be open before all games.
“So many of us players got our start playing pond hockey,” club legend Pat LaFontaine said. “This is the purest form of the sport and its’ great that this experience is coming to The Park at UBS Arena.”