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The Islanders have rescheduled their lockout-canceled preseason game at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. They'll play the Devils on September 21.
The New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn's Barclays Center, a building that wasn't designed for ice hockey. Is this going to work?
The New York Islanders will move to Barclays Center in 2015. The team signed a 25-year lease in Brooklyn.
The New York Islanders won't be changing names anytime soon.
The Isles are staying in the New York area, but the move to Brooklyn is both good and bad for fans of the team.
The Islanders won't fit their name for much longer, moving from Uniondale to Brooklyn in 2015.
Could the Islanders be moving to Brooklyn?
A sports arena that could host both an NHL and NBA team will almost certainly be built in Seattle, raising questions of just how an NHL team could find its way to the city in the near future. Could the New York Islanders, long embroiled in a testy battle with Nassau County, N.Y. regarding a new arena, be on the move to Seattle or elsewhere?
According to prospective Seattle team owner Don Levin, the answer is no. Via ESPN's Craig Custance:
"I can tell you there are not teams for sale that are available to move," Levin told ESPN the Magazine on Wednesday.
Not the Coyotes? Or maybe one day the Islanders?
"My understanding is that the Phoenix deal, [Greg Jamison] has come up with the money," Levin said. "The answer to the Islanders moving is never. They're not moving out of that market. No chance that's going to happen."
Islanders fans have long been worried about the potential that their cash-strapped, arena-poor franchise could leave it's historic roots on Long Island and find itself elsewhere. Brooklyn may not be the greatest alternative for Isles fans based further west on the Island, but it goes without saying that the new Barclays Center would be a much more desirable location for Isles fans than Seattle, Quebec City or elsewhere.
If Levin, the well-connected current owner of the AHL's Chicago Wolves, truly is in the know, it seems as though Islanders fans can relax a bit.
For more on the Islanders, check in with Lighthouse Hockey.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the home of the New York Islanders, is the oldest building in the NHL. It doesn't take much to be reminded of that whether you're driving by, sitting inside, playing on its rink or reading news stories a potential asbestos problem at the 40-year-old arena. Yes, an asbestos problem.
State investigators have begun a probe of the Coliseum after several complaints from workers, who went as far as to say the problem may have caused cancer in some of their colleagues, according to NBC New York. One worker reportedly gathered samples of a white substance from various areas around the arena, sending them to several labs for testing. The results confirmed "dangerous levels of potentially airborne asbestos."
The Islanders, the only major tenant at the County-owned, SMG-operated arena, have asked for a full review of the asbestos complaints.
Charles Wang's hockey club is in the midst of determining their future in Nassau County beyond the end of their current lease, which expires in 2015. Barclays Center in Brooklyn is an option, as is the hope for a new arena in the County despite a failed referendum in October 2011. It's also possible that the team could leave the New York area all together for greener pastures in Quebec City, Kansas City, Seattle or elsewhere.
The New York Islanders and owner Charles Wang are listening to offers from potential suitors from municipalities outside of Nassau County, according to Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank. And yes, by "outside of Nassau County," we mean outside of New York State, too.
Wang does not want to leave Nassau County, and staying put remains his first choice. But when I asked top executives to confirm that Wang will only consider overtures from municipalities within the New York metropolitan area, I could not get a promise on or off the record.
"I can't guarantee that anymore," said one source on high. "They are looking at options inside and outside of New York State. It would be misleading to say New York only."
The local politics surrounding the story are absolutely fascinating -- although if you live in Nassau County, you might just have a different opinion on that -- and are outlined well in the article. We won't try to delve into them here, because we're certainly ignorant in comparison. Instead, we'll stick to the implications for the hockey team.
There are plenty of options for the Islanders on Long Island, and Wang has proven that he wants both Nassau County and Long Island to be the home of his club for the very long-term future. He could have sold the team years ago to a group from Winnipeg or Kansas City or Quebec City if that weren't the case, and he would have saved a ton of money in the process. Just as True North did with the Atlanta Thrashers, ownership from Quebec City would open the wallet for the chance to purchase the Islanders, and Wang could take that right to the bank if that was his priority.
It's obviously not, though, and this shouldn't be seen as the death of the Islanders on Long Island for that reason They could move to Suffolk County or to Queens or, as we all know, to Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. A deal could be reached at the Coliseum site in Nassau County. There are plenty of options in the New York area.
There are three years before the Islanders lease expires at the Coliseum, and Wang is certainly going to use that as a bargaining chip as much as he can. He's going to use the possibility of the Islanders leaving the New York-area altogether as a bargaining chip, too.
It's looking more and more like the Islanders could leave Nassau County, the place they've called home since birth. fIf that happens, it's really a question of just how far they wind up moving.
The New York Islanders need a new arena. Brooklyn has a new arena, except it's not quite designed for hockey. But hey, might as well test it out and see how it goes, right? That's the implied logic at play when Charles Wang sends his team to Barclays Center, still under construction in downtown Brooklyn, for a preseason NHL game in October.
The team announced Tuesday that they'll play the New Jersey Devils on October 2 at the new building, and in the process, they made sure they accentuated all the positives of the state-of-the-art arena. Barclay's Center CEO Brett Yormark certainly made his opinion of the Islanders known, too.
"We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base," Yormark said in the press release. "Barclays Center will also afford current Islander fans with great accessibility, as the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines will come directly to the arena at the Atlantic Terminal transit hub."
Yormark's building was built for the New Jersey Nets of the NBA, but it's part of his job to make sure it's filled as often as possible throughout the year. An NHL team calling it home goes a long way towards that goal, and the one true weakness of the Nassau Coliseum location at which the Islanders currently reside is the lack of public transportation. There's a reason Yormark mentioned the transit hub at the door step of Barclays Center, and this is likely why.
He's also not shying away from the fact that he'd love the Islanders to call Brooklyn their next home, telling Chris Botta of the New York Times that he'd love Wang and the Islanders to consider Barclay's as an option for relocation. Meanwhile, Nassau County Executive Charles Mangano is brushing aside the idea of the Islanders leaving his county, a threat symbolized in this preseason game in Brooklyn.
Islanders blog Lighthouse Hockey explained this whole situation best on Tuesday:
Charles Wang owns a team but needs an arena -- ideally one that grows his club's revenues. The Nets gang owns an arena and a team but would like more ways to fill that arena for their revenues. Nassau County owns an arena but no team and sort of needs a new arena or, at minimum, a clue about how to develop a property and answer a question they've punted for only five decades or so. Also: politics.
Where everything stands once the music stops, we don't know and won't know for some time. But for now, this is another necessary beat in the song. And it's totally by a band you've never heard of.
Attempts to build a new arena on the site of Nassau Coliseum, the home of the New York Islanders, have failed at every turn. Whether it's the lack of approval from local government for the massive Lighthouse Project proposal or the lack of taxpayer support for a more recent arena plan that was voted down in August, owner Charles Wang and the Islanders have seemingly exhausted most of their options.
As a result, fans have worried about the future of their team on Long Island. But is there new found hope yet again? Via Newsday comes details of a new proposal, put forth by a group called Association of a Better Long Island, which calls for a minor league baseball park, an outdoor ice rink a parking garage and retail space on the land that surrounds the Coliseum.
The $346.5 million proposal would also include $100 million in renovations to the Coliseum itself, which Newsday says "would make the structure large and taller, with new seats and suites." The paper also reports that the plan would be privately financed, a huge detail in the wake of the failed referendum that hit the ballot on August 1.
Our Islanders blog, Lighthouse Hockey, is sure to have more on this story.
Technically speaking, Brooklyn is on Long Island -- like, it's physically on the island. Long Island University even has a campus in Brooklyn, too. Just don't tell somebody from the borough that they're a Long Islander, because you're likely to get punched in the face for that. Culturally, the two places couldn't be much different.
It raises an interesting option for the New York Islanders, however, in the wake of the refusal by Nassau County voters on Monday to allow the government to take out bonds to build a new hockey arena for the team.
Could they move to Brooklyn? More specifically, could they move to Barclays Center, the new $800 million building at Atlantic & Flatbush Avenues that the NBA's
New Jersey Nets will soon call home? We don't know what Charles Wang will do with his team next -- he could try to sell the team or he could try again to build an arena on the Coliseum site or he could opt for relocation, whether that be in the New York metro or elsewhere.
If selling is his top option, it doesn't appear as though the move to Brooklyn is in the cards. A spokesperson for Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told SB Nation's NetsDaily on Tuesday that the eccentric billionaire is not interested in purchasing any other sports teams, eliminating any hope that he could buy the team and put them in his new building.
But if Wang held on to the team and tried to move them to Brooklyn, the Barclays Center itself could be a bit of an obstacle. Nets CEO Brett Yormark released a statement on Tuesday saying the following, via NetsDaily:
"Barclays Center will have an ice rink that can support professional hockey," Yormark said in an email that followed Prokhorov's by minutes. "Due to the venue's design, the capacity for hockey would be several thousand seats less than for basketball. While we hope to explore hockey opportunities in the future, our primary focus at the moment is to build the best sports and entertainment venue in the world."
Renderings of the new arena do show that it's a bit of an odd specimen, and it doesn't look like it will ever have the ideal set up for hockey. There's going to be a gorgeous new arena in downtown Brooklyn come the late summer and early fall of 2012, but it doesn't appear as though it's an ideal option for the future of the New York Islanders.
For more on the Isles, be sure to head over to SB Nation's Lighthouse Hockey, where they're all over the depression and the anxiety of Monday's failed vote.
Monday night, the voters of Long Island took to the polls to voice their opinion on whether or not New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, in partnership with the county, will have access to a $400M loan to build a new, state-of-the-art hockey arena on the current site of the dilapidated Nassau Coliseum.
Their final answer? A resounding "no."
The referendum failed in a 33,526 to 24,553 vote Monday in what elections officials said was a very low turnout for the unusual midsummer election.
Nassau County officials who backed the effort say the August vote was needed to give officials enough time to build a replacement for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before the New York Islanders' lease expires in 2015.
Now what? Well, the most obvious answer is that the Islanders could end up moving to a new city. However, it's unclear how far along Wang might be in that thought-process.
Nassau County officials supported the effort, noting that if the Isles left the region would lose millions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs. However, when faced with the idea of footing the bill for a new area, it still wasn't enough for residents.
In a statement after the vote, Wang said it was an emotional event and that he is "heartbroken" over the results. As to whether or not that heartbreak will be the impetus to turn his team into the Seattle Islanders (or whatever the case may be), remains to be seen.
For more on the vote results and the team, visit SB Nation's Lighthouse Hockey.
By the end of Monday, we'll know a great deal more about the future of the New York Islanders on Long Island and, more specifically, in Nassau County.
Voters there are flocking (?) to the polls on August 1 to vote on a referendum that will allow Isles owner Charles Wang, in partnership with the county, to build a new, state-of-the-art hockey arena on the current site of the dilapidated Nassau Coliseum.
A YES vote from the public would be the first step towards allowing Nassau County to spend $400 million on bonds towards building a new arena. $350 million of that would go towards the arena, while $50 million would go towards a new minor-league baseball stadium. A NO vote would be devastating to the Isles chances of staying on Long Island, and Wang has said before that if that's the case, he'll have to look to other options surrounding the future of his team.
Even with a YES vote on Monday, however, there would still be hurdles to climb. 13 of the 19 members of the Nassau County Legislature, or two-thirds, much vote in favor of borrowing the money to fund the project, and a state oversight committee, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, must also sign off on the deal.
The benefits of a new arena are obvious. For starters, the New York Islanders will continue to play in Nassau County, on the site where they're played for their entire rich history. They new arena would be an economic boon for the area, replacing the incredibly horrible Coliseum with a new state-of-the-art facility. Projects like this tend to create more development, and even better, more jobs. In fact, that's the chief argument by those in the Nassau County government who favor the deal.
County Executive Ed Mangano said last week that, if the Islanders were to leave, it would cost the region $243.4 million in lost sales per year, 2,660 fewer jobs and that the county would lose $7.8 million in tax revenue per year. The argument is simple: it's a tax increase for residents, yes, but it's also an investment in the County.
The reasons against voting YES are just as clear though, as well. You know, there's a reason why that state oversight committee, NIFA, exists, and it's because Nassau County doesn't know how to run its books. For a county that's already in financial hot water, why should they be given more money to play around with, especially when that money is going to support a private business?
Supporters say that building the arena will actually cost taxpayers less money over the next 30 years, in which Wang and the Islanders will pay back the County using revenues generated by the building, than it would cost them if they did nothing and let the Islanders leave -- in the form of losing that revenue and those jobs.
On the flip side, there's a whole lot of people that purely hate the idea of taxpayers paying for a hockey team to have a place to play, no matter what that team brings to the table in supporting the community.
In an odd early-August voting situation like we have here, it's just a matter of who gets out to the polls. That question could be the one that dictates the future of the New York Islanders.
For more on the vote and the team, visit SB Nation's Lighthouse Hockey.
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