Islanders are moving on up to Brooklyn
The New York Islanders are on the move!
The franchise announced on Wednesday that the Islanders, who have played on Long Island since they began play in 1972, will move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015, signing a 25-year agreement to make Barclays their home.
“It was our goal from Day 1 to keep the Islanders in the local New York area,” Islanders owner Charles Wang said. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play in Barclays Center, a first-class arena. This has been a long journey for the Islanders family starting with our loyal fans, sponsors and employees. I want to personally thank them for their patience, loyalty and support. I am excited about today’s announcement and I am looking forward to a long and successful future in Brooklyn.”
Since its opening last month, the landmark sports and entertainment arena has received praise from fans and the media. No surprise that all the big guns came out in support of the Islanders announcement on Wednesday, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Barclays Center developer Bruce Rattner and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, among others.
The move financially and aesthetically appears to be a perfect one, but that may not be as true for many fans. Significant travel time will be required for those who live on Long Island. But public transportation makes the Barclays Center one of the most accessible in the tri-state area. Ticket prices will likely increase with the brand new facility holding approximately two thousand fewer fans than the Coliseum. However, the benefits of the new venue will far outweigh the hassle of paying to get there.
Not to mention, leaving Nassau Coliseum behind probably won’t cause most to even shed a tear.
Just ask the outspoken former Islanders GM Mike Milbury.
“This move should not shock anyone familiar with the Islanders situation. Owner Charles Wang has been bleeding money since he bought the team. Having been rebuffed by Long Island politicians and voters to build a new arena, Wang’s move to Brooklyn was not unexpected.”
Wang, in fact, claims he’s losing $20 million a year in a dilapidated building.
Milbury, who stepped down as Islanders GM in 2006 after 10 years at the helm, knows just as well as anyone what the team was up against. He also doesn’t undermine the importance of keeping the team in the largest market in North America.
“Staying locally allows Wang to continue his long term and lucrative deal with Cablevision to broadcast Islanders games. This will not immediately solve all of the team’s problems. They still have to play at the ugly Coliseum for three more years. That should be a hoot. And when they do make the move, the arena will hold on 15-plus thousand fans. In the end, anything was better than the status quo.”
Islanders Assistant Coach and Special Assistant to the General Manager, Doug Weight, had this to say, “I am so excited to be a part of this move to Brooklyn! Charles did what he had to do to keep the Islanders in NY and on Long Island.”
The Stanley Cup champ and former New York Islanders captain is hoping the move is just what the Isles need to be in the running for Lord Stanley.
“I believe in the direction this franchise is headed and I believe this move will enhance and accelerate the ongoing process to be a consistent Stanley Cup contender.”
The announcement of a move for the Islanders comes one year after the Atlanta Thrashers relocated their franchise north of the border to Winnipeg. The Isles move is a mere pitching wedge shot compared to what Thrashers fans had to endure, but the team is hoping for similar positive results as those NHL fans witnessed with the new Jets.
All in all, the move is a slam-dunk for the Islanders franchise. Let the heated rivalry between the Isles, New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils begin.