The New York Islanders will announce at a 1 p.m. Wednesday press conference that they're moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The move, still three years down the road when the Isles' Nassau Coliseum lease expires in 2015, is the long-awaited solution to an ongoing arena saga that's seen relocation threats, stalled plans for extravagant new buildings in Nassau County and its fair share of nasty local politics.
Like the entire process, the conclusion has its ups-and-downs as well. Ultimately, the team will still remain in the New York area -- and technically speaking, still on Long Island -- and that's good news when the alternative seemed to be Quebec City, Kansas City or Seattle.
"It's good for the Islanders because the saga in Nassau has gone on too long, and the time has run out on the municipal politics that have prevented a solution despite two decades of trying," said Dominik Jansky of SB Nation's Islanders blog, Lighthouse Hockey. "This opens up the Islanders to a new but not distant fanbase, and a location that is more accessible to many demographics (younger professional, money to spend) that are generally great for the NHL."
But for longtime Isles fans who grew up with the team in Nassau, Wednesday marks a sad, if not unexpected, milestone. The team will no longer call Nassau, the place where they formed a dynasty and won four-straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s, their home.
"It's too bad for the franchise and many of their longtime fans that they have to move away from their founding home, from many of their fans in Nassau and Suffolk who won't or can't commute to Brooklyn with any regularity," Jansky said. "And of course they're leaving the place where their identity was forged, with the NHL's last dynasty and their record 19 playoff series wins. That's a lot of history to leave behind, but of course everyone knows the last 20 years have included a lot of pain in the Coliseum too. It's a new day."