Northwell Presents The Park at UBS Arena

Mike Schaeffer and his 11-year-old son were bonding over some backyard games, mainly cornhole, on a balmy 50-degree April afternoon, part of their annual father-son trip to a New York Islanders game. 
Only this backyard wasn’t at the family home in Lindenhurst, but rather at Northwell Presents The Park at UBS Arena. When Schaeffer’s son first caught wind of The Park, his excitement to come to an Islanders game ratcheted up another level.  
“I wanted him to have the full experience,” Schaeffer said. “I looked online and saw all the different activities to do. My son couldn’t sleep last night, he’s been so excited.”

Drone Fly Through at The Park and UBS Arena

The Park quickly became an essential part of the Islanders' game day experience since it opened in December. In a successful rookie season, The Park provided a unique experience for Islanders fans, offering skates on the Northwell and UBS Ponds, AmEx Igloo Garden that has furnished and heated igloos, Heineken Beer Garden that is BYOB, Coca-Cola Corner with carnival games, Isles Lab Swag Shack, food trucks, concessions, Mini Golf presented by Northwell. 
"What's there not to love? There's just so many things to do," said Gregory Dinin, who brought his family to The Park ahead of Game 4 between the Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes. "It's not just going into the stadium and spending an hour and a half because that hour and a half goes by so quickly. [It's also] the ability to just come out and do a myriad of different things before the game." 
The Park attracted over 70k attendees in the first four months, offering something for everyone. Shamsun Nahar's three boys raved about the dunk tank, bounce house and igloos in particular.  
"It's nice to have so many arranged activities for the kids and the families to get together,” Nahar said. “A lot of families go with friends, they can all mingle outside, it's such a nice vibe.”

Before warm weather reached Long Island, The Park hosted pond hockey tournaments, debuting with a first responder tourney, and followed by adult, youth, pride, and jamboree tournaments.  
The winter wonderland backdrop was the perfect atmosphere for the Pride Pond Hockey Tournament on Jan. 20, as the NYC Gay Hockey Association hit the ice on a sunny winter day for a three-on-three tournament.   
“Everyone was super excited to get on the ice, the facility is absolutely gorgeous.” said Mike Bresette, board member on the NYCGHA. “Everyone got set up in the igloos as our locker room which really made for this cool outdoor experience. It made for a great tournament." 
Although a trophy was awarded, making memories and bonding over outdoor hockey was the most valuable part of the pond hockey events.   
“It’s not always about winning, but that group of skaters were super excited to win that title,” Bresette said. “We have a very large organization, so it’s not all the time you get to play with everyone. These group outings really do bring our organization together even more. These events are very special and mean a lot to us.” 
Samantha Bajada, from Merrick, rallied her friends and neighbors during winter break to gather at The Park for the Mite Jamboree on Feb. 21. Her daughters, seven-year-old Kimberly and 10-year-old Megan, played with their fellow teammates on the Islanders Girls Elite Hockey for a memorable first experience at The Park.   
"It was such a beautiful environment, such a nice meeting place," Bajada said.

Pond Hockey Tournament at The Park

The brand-new spot at UBS Arena drew the community together, providing a central location for the community to enjoy.   
"It really is a great community atmosphere," said Ron Rostron, whose children participated in the Mite Jamboree at the end of December. "Having The Park here, right next to the arena, really adds to the whole experience. It's great for the kids and promotes teamwork, it's just fun." 
Some famous fathers were also in attendance at the Mite Jamborees, as Brock Nelson and Cal Clutterbuck spent the days being hockey parents instead of pro hockey players.   
"My kids were loving it," Nelson said. "You can see how much fun the kids are having playing the game outside and having a blast. It's cool that it's right outside UBS, [my kids] loved that aspect too." 
Fans got to meet Isles legends, as The Park was filled with alumni throughout the regular season, while Shawn Bates and Bob Nystrom made outdoor appearances during the playoffs. Robert Lepurage, who has been a fan since the mid-70's, enjoyed chatting with Nystrom about the old days.  
"Bobby Nystrom was the first Islanders jersey I owned. I had it before he scored the famous goal in 1980,” Lepurage said. “It's always great seeing him, he's Mr. Islander. Seeing him around all the time, it makes everyone feel part of the family."

The star power didn't end there, as MSG Networks also set up shop at The Park to host pre-and-post game shows. Fans got to get up close to Shannon Hogan, Thomas Hickey and Cory Schneider and provided the backdrop – college game day style – to Islanders broadcasts.  
Following a successful winter, The Park was in full bloom in the spring for playoffs, with a Watch Party for Game 1 and pregame fan events for Games 3 and 4. The Park was host to several watch parties during the regular season as well – including two rivalry Isles-Rangers’ matchups where fans had the chance to win prizes, compete in challenges for tickets and form community with their fellow Isles fans. 
"I love coming here for watch parties, you get to see the big TV and Sparky and Nyisles are there,” Dinin said. “Even though [the team is] away, it still feels like you're in the center of the action.”  
Community has long been at the center of the Islanders fan experience and now, before every game, thousands of blue-and-orange clad fans can come together at The Park to skate, play and be with each other before heading into UBS Arena.  
"It's a family-style environment," Dinin said. "It's the one thing that brings us all together. The Park does that for us, the Islanders do that for us, we're super excited about that." 
This was just the rookie season for The Park, which will continue to host events in the summer.  Stay tuned for more updates!