New York Islanders Arena Vote: Reflection and Response

Daniel FriedmanCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - AUGUST 01: Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (C) addresses the media to announce that the new arena voter referendum failed as New York Islanders owner Charles Wang (L) and members of the labor unions look on at the Nassau Coliseum on August 1, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. Wang has said that without a new arena, he may have no choice but to move the team out of Nassau County.  (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Andy Marlin/Getty Images

When this entire process began, Islanders fans and supporters alike joined hand-in-hand, in an effort to make something happen in a geographic location where things generally do not. 

We spent so much of our time and energy to do our part. We recruited voters, informed our neighbors and friends, posted lawn signs and handed out fliers. 

As an Islanders fan, it was really heart-warming to see just how united we all were in this. All hands were on deck, and everyone had one another's backs. If these last couple of months haven't proved the sheer commitment and pride of Islanders fans, I don't know what could.

Say what you want about this being a marketing slogan, but we really are all Islanders. 

This is one tight-knit family, and everyone put heart and soul into trying to make this happen. We all worked so hard, which is why I think we're all in a state of depression right now. We feel for Nassau County, we feel for this team and we feel for each other. 

If there was a single positive takeaway, this was it. Safe to say, the "Islander Country" moniker is now more than justified. 

Now, do I think the Islanders are going to leave New York? Not for a second. There are simply too many options, whether it's Brooklyn, Queens or even, dare I say it, Nassau County.

Charles Wang isn't about to abandon the largest sports market in the United States for Kansas City. 

But all things considered, a small window has been opened for the team to potentially re-locate elsewhere, and regardless of how small, that's still something that has tremendous consequences and is extremely difficult to think about. 

Still, that's not why I'm feeling such disappointment. I'm emotionally and physically spent, because I, and so many others, put so much of themselves into this. 

We worked so hard to try and get this passed, we know there wouldn't have been nearly as many voters in favor of the proposal. Wherever Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano failed to clear the air (and there were many areas in which this was the case), rest assured, we did our best to fill the gap.

In the end, we lost the vote. It's extremely disappointing, but I do believe Mangano when he says he'll do whatever it takes to keep the Islanders here. 

When Mike Bossy says that something will get done, I agree with him. I think Charles Wang is too smart not to figure something out, or at the very least, not to move this team out of New York. He's committed to Long Island, he will find a way.

I've never had faith in an owner like I have in Wang. 

I don't think he's given up. Mangano certainly hasn't either, and neither should we. 

Even with the support of Wang and the county, this isn't going to work unless we do our part. It's not going to happen if we just pack it in, raise our white flag and surrender. 

Islanders fans, we cannot afford to let this vote affect our commitment to this team. We cannot afford to let that building remain empty on game nights. I don't care if they've got a 1-40-0-0 record going into mid-season, we need to stay with this team. 

Given that, in a hockey sense, the Isles are on the rise, a 1-40 record is highly unlikely, but you get my point. 

Let's pack the house every night, get behind our team and show Nassau County just how much the Islanders mean to us. 

If we approach the next four seasons like we did the referendum vote, I have no doubt the Islanders won't be going playing home games anywhere other than Hempstead Turnpike for years and years to come. 

Our energy's been spent, but it was not wasted. Our togetherness didn't swing the vote, but it does matter. 

Starting with opening night, we need to fill up Nassau Coliseum and scream and cheer until the scoreboard falls off the roof. I want to have to circle that parking lot for twenty minutes to find a parking spot, just because most have been taken. I want to have to wait 15 minutes on line to buy ice cream from a concession stand. 

This is not the time to back down. This is not the time to lose all hope. I was depressed while writing most of this post, but now I'm ready to move forward. 

We have time, the voice and the manpower to make this happen. 


Comments are welcome.