ELMONT, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders held a 15-minute ceremony prior to the first game at UBS Arena against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
Emceed by Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald, the Islanders started the ceremony by honoring former owner Charles Wang, who died of lung cancer in 2018. Wang tried multiple ways to build a new arena during his time as owner (2000-18) but was unsuccessful.
They also had a laser-light show featuring the outside of UBS Arena, the Empire State Building and their four Stanley Cup championship banners (1980-83).
Afterwards, Islanders alumni, including Hockey Hall of Fame players Denis Potvin and Clark Gillies, walked on to the ice to a roar from the crowd. There was also a prolonged cheer for Mike Bossy, who scored 573 goals in 10 seasons with New York. Bossy announced last month he is battling lung cancer.
The festivities ended with a ceremonial face-off led by Bobby Nystrom and John Tonelli, who were responsible for the Islanders' Cup-winning goal in overtime in Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final. Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck and Flames forward Blake Coleman participated in the face-off.
Ground was broken for UBS Arena on Sept. 23, 2019. The facility holds 17,113 fans for hockey, an increase from 13,917 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders played at the Coliseum from 1972-2015, then moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn before returning to the Coliseum full time at the start of last season.
Among the amenities are a 23,000 square-foot locker room and training facility. There will views of the ice throughout the building and an Islanders Club, a sports bar decorated with memorabilia and a standing room section.
The Islanders (5-6-2) started the season with a 13-game road stretch to allow more time to complete construction.