Top 10 Reasons the New York Islanders Should Move to Queens/Brooklyn
The New York Islanders, once a proud franchise, is now the laughingstock of the league. It’s tough to tell where it all went wrong.
Was it poor management? Lack of fan support? Or simply years of personnel decisions that weren’t always made by those who should’ve been making them?
In the midst of their current contract with the Nassau Coliseum expiring in 2015, one thing is clear, it seems that the Islanders will more than likely be looking for a new home in the near future.
Here are the Top 10 reasons why they should look no further than Brooklyn or Queens.
Keep the Name
Despite having an outstanding record of underachievement in the last couple of decades, the Islanders are a team rich in tradition. During their glory days, the team became symbolic of Long Island and its people.
A move to either Queens or Brooklyn would allow the team to remain in Long Island and keep their name.
For a team that has won four consecutive Stanley Cups and achieved so much in their history, it would be disastrous to lose their identity.
Long Island Fan Base
When the team played a game during the 2009 pre-season in Kansas City, rumors ran rampant about relocation.
It is no secret that owner Charles Wang is keeping his options open. Who is to say that an offer from an untapped market won’t lure away the frustrated executive.
Islander fans will not be happy if the team relocates, but if they were to stay close to home rather than ditch them for Kansas City or a Canadian venue, true fans would still support the team.
The history of North American sports is littered with embarrassing relocation stories that left millions with a sense of abandonment.
The least the team could do is stay loyal to the people and remain in Long Island.
A team’s arena is not just their venue, it is their home and the face of the franchise.
Nassau Coliseum was opened in 1972, making it the second oldest arena in professional hockey. The building barely satisfies National Hockey League standards and is in desperate need of renovations.
Although it hasn’t been a problem in recent years, at 16,250, the building’s capacity is also among the lowest in the National Hockey League.
If You Build It…
What better way to energize a franchise that is in desperate need of a new direction than by building a new arena?
With game attendance at an embarrassing low and the glory days of the past all but forgotten, it seems that a complete overhaul is all that can save the franchise from complete ruin.
The Islanders need a new arena to revitalize their image. The effect of a new building will re-energize the fan base and attract countless new supporters.
Sharing Is Caring
The construction for the new Brooklyn home of the New Jersey Nets officially broke ground on March 2010. The $800 million Barclays Center will be a state-of-the-art facility and will accommodate approximately 18,000 people.
The New York Islanders could avoid the huge price tag that comes with playing in a new arena and share it with the Nets.
The idea of sharing an arena is a growing concept. In some cases, such as the Staples Center, as many as three professional teams share the same building.
Transportation and ease of access is always a huge concern when building a new sports venue. Both proposed locations don’t present any glaring accessibility problems.
Willets Point in Queens is conveniently placed near Citi Field and the USTA National Tennis Center, were years of careful planning led to the development of efficient transportation.
The Barclays Center is currently being built in Brooklyn just down the street from the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal and the Pacific Street-Atlantic Avenue subway station.
The Rangers Don’t Have To Agree
In 1972, the New York Rangers allowed the Islanders to join the National Hockey League and play in Nassau County for a fee of $4.5 million.
In 1986, however, an agreement was reached by both sides and allowed the Islanders to move anywhere in Brooklyn, Queens, Suffolk, or Nassau counties.
The Rangers will not be able to block a proposed move to either Brooklyn or Queens.
Eight Million Stories
It is an understatement to say that a move into the boroughs would be huge for the fan base.
New York is the definition of a metropolis. With two National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball League teams, it is truly the biggest sports market in the nation, if not the world.
The Islanders would be getting the best of both worlds. They would retain their Long Island supporters as well as add those who hate the Rangers but couldn’t quite relate to a team from Nassau County.
The Big Apple
We see it all the time, and not just in professional sports. The lure of New York City attracts droves of people day in and day out. If a team is able to win a championship, the rewards are endless.
With the team’s current financial woes, a big off-season signing is unlikely. The move would help General Manager Garth Snow work wonders during the free agency.
The prospect of playing in New York City will help the team convince players to sign and contribute their talents, even if it means taking a slightly lower salary.
Let’s face it, Uniondale simply can’t compete with the atmosphere that Brooklyn and Queens offer.
The Lighthouse Project
Public opinion is almost unanimous; in order for the Isles to stay in Nassau County, the Lighthouse Project must be approved.
The Lighthouse Project is an ambitious attempt by owner Charles Wang to renovate the Nassau Coliseum and transform the surrounding areas. It includes an athletic complex, a minor league ballpark, hotels, restaurants, stores, offices, and houses.
Although approved by Nassau County, the project has been halted by the Town of Hempstead. If a deal can’t be reached, it would appear as if the Isles will be in search of a new home.