Yesterday, the Islanders future was set in stone for the next 25 years, and it wasn't set in Kansas City, Seattle, or Montreal. Instead, the team will be relocated just a stone's throw away in Brooklyn's Barclay's Center, and they will be reunited with their old arena-mates the Nets.
At 1 PM, there was a press conference in which all the major players were present for, including Charles Wang, Garth Snow, Gary Bettman, Brett Yormark, Michael Bloomberg, among others. Wang stated that all avenues were exhausted in order to keep the team where they were born, however an agreement was never able to be reached between Nassau County and the NHL organization. It was also reiterated that Wang had a lot of great offers to move the team out of state for years, but Wang refused to move the team out of the New York market. The team's current lease ends in 2015, and the team will move there starting in the 2015-16 season. Previously when asked if the team would honor their lease, Wang had always stated that they would. But after being a guest yesterday on Mike Francesa's show "Mike's On" On AM660 WFAN, he never gave a clear answer regarding that situation. If I were a betting man, I would bet that there will be a struggle to get out of the current lease agreement a year early.
Many people are ecstatic about the move, I, however, have very mixed feelings regarding it. I personally never felt that the team would ever leave the New York market, so I'd always held hope something would get done in my home of Nassau County. Sadly nothing was done, which I don't blame on the Islanders themselves. Charles Wang had put millions upon millions of his own money into the team which had been failing for years. Nassau County, on the other hand, does not deserve any credit, but all the blame, for this move. They allowed the future of a NHL Franchise to be decided by angry voters who saw the words "public money" and were scared into voting it down.
But lets look to the future. The Barclay's Center is, in fact, beautiful. I personally have been there twice already, once to see Jay-Z perform, and once to watch the Brooklyn Nets take on the Washington Wizards. However, the arena does not seem as if it was designed for an NHL rink to be placed there. Luckily we do have a few years until the Islanders make Brooklyn their home, so we'll most likely see a few modifications to the arena in order to get more seats to become available. Remember, the Barclay's Center only seats about 14,500 for hockey, making it the smallest in the league. Time will tell how this works out, but I'd have to imagine that it can't do much worse than what the Islanders had going for them in the past.
What is your opinion regarding the news? Please let me know in the comments, or feel free to tweet me @tartmaster or @first_tensports!