NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he is "wholly, fully, unequivocally supportive" of the Islanders' effort to land an arena deal at Belmont Park, according to Neil Best of Newsday.
"I think it would be great," Bettman added. "I think it would be great for the Islanders. I think it would be great for the people of greater New York. I think it would be great for Long Island."
The Islanders submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.
The Islanders can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January. Barclays Center is reportedly unhappy with the Islanders as tenants, and the team has been seeking other options.
In July, New York state officials released a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the 43 vacant acres at Belmont Park in Elmont.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday reported in February that the team was working with Oak View Group, a sports arena development company backed by Madison Square Garden, on their proposal.
Regarding a return to the renovated Nassau Coliseum, Bettman said in September that he doesn't view it as "viable."
"I don't view the Nassau Coliseum as a viable option," Bettman said earlier this month. "Ultimately, whether or not the Islanders want to consider that and bring it to the league or something, you've had to ask them about it. But my gut reaction is it's not a viable option."
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Bettman has always been publicly supportive of the Islanders staying in the New York area, preferably Long Island. Say what you want about the man, like him or hate him, he knows the business of running a professional sports league and he has seen the NHL grow in a market where it's not second fiddle, but fourth.
Saying he's 'hoping this can come to fruition in a timely basis' is in the less than capable hands of New York State, which is not always the fastest at reaching decisions. The fact that it's a site that's been talked about for years with nothing getting done doesn't exactly inspire much confidence that the approval board takes into consideration John Tavares' signature might depend on it.
As far as Barclays Center is concerned, the Islanders just continue to win there. And win. And win. The only undefeated (in regulation) team at home this season across the entire 31-team league shows a dominance that has extended across all two-plus seasons they have called the quirky building home. Bettman says the relationship is 'being managed' which is code for 'the sides are getting along, even though neither likes the current arrangement.'
New York has committed to Brooklyn for next season, with the hope Belmont can get fast tracked and provide the team with, finally, a stable arena of their own to call home. Oh, and a captain that wears the No. 91.