NHL: New York Islanders' 5 Most Likely Landing Spots in 2015
The Islanders currently play in the worst arena in the entire NHL- the Nassau Coliseum.
Originally opened in 1972, the Nassau Coliseum became the home of the New York Islanders.
During their time at the Coliseum, the Islanders had one of the most successful dynasties in NHL history. From 1980 to 1983, the Isles won four consecutive NHL Stanley Cups.
However, since then the Islanders have not come close to reaching the level of success they obtained in the 80's.
In the past few years, the Islanders have become the punching bag of the NHL's Eastern Conference. The Islanders need to shake things up. Owner Charles Wang believed a new, state of the art arena would do just the trick.
Wang's first proposal to get a new arena, "The Lighthouse Project" which was estimated to cost over $3 billion and would provide a new hockey arena as well as a minor league baseball stadium and a 60-story building, was voted down.
On Monday, Nassau County citizens voted on a revised and much smaller scale project which would only include the arena and a minor league park.
This proposal was also voted down due to the citizens unwillingness to pay higher taxes.
Wang feels that since he has lost so much money since buying the Islanders (over $200 million), he should not be solely responsible for a new arena.
The Islanders lease to play in the Coliseum ends in 2015 and there is no way Wang will keep his team in the dilapidated Coliseum.
Therefore, rumors of relocation have begun to surface.
Here are the most likely cities with the best chance to house the Ne York Islanders.
Wild Card: Queens, NY
The Wilpons have expressed interest in owning an NHL franchise in the past.
The Wilpons could, in theory, build a hockey arena in the parking lot of the MLB's New York Mets' home, Citifield.
Queens in the closest borough to Long Island and there would be a good amount of Long Islanders willing to make the trip to Flushing to catch and Islander game.
However, the Wilpons current financial problems and pressure from New York City's true team: the Rangers, make this scenario unlikely.
5) Kansas City, MO
Kansas City has long been rumored to be atop the NHL's list of cities to house a relocated NHL team. However, recent reports suggest Kansas City is not even on Gary Bettman's radar.
Regardless, the people of Kansas City are ready to have their second try at supporting an NHL team.
They also have the resources to house a team.
The state of the art Sprint Center was constructed in 2007 in hopes of luring an NHL or NBA team.
The Islanders would be a welcome tenant in the Sprint Center which has been devoid of a full time occupant.
The only reason why I do not think this scenario is highly likely is because the people of Kansas City failed to support the Kansas City Scouts, now the New Jersey Devils, in 1976.
After only 3 seasons the Scouts left for greener pastures when other NHL owners found out that the average attendance at Scout games was just over 8,000... Way below the league minimum.
4) Hartford, CT
Hartford Whaler fans were dejected when they saw their beloved Whalers leave in 1997. Like the Scouts, the Whalers were not drawing in big enough crowds to their games.
The XL Center still exists in Hartford. This arena, which is almost as old as the Nassau Coliseum would be a suitable place for the Whalers to play.
However, I do not think that the NHL would be willing to put the Islanders in another obsolete arena.
On the other hand, Hartford has done well in supporting the Connecticut Whale, the New York Rangers AHL team, and the XL Center's owner has stated that he would be willing to build a new arena for an NHL team.
3) Brooklyn, NY
The Barclay Arena is scheduled to open in 2012. It seems as if the new home of the New Jersey Nets would make an excellent home for the Islanders.
Fans from Long Island would be able to attend games because the Long Island Rail Road runs straight through Brooklyn.
Keeping the islanders in New York would be a plus for the NHL.
One has to wonder;however, what the New York Rangers would think of this move. They could put pressure on the NHL to keep competition far from New York City.
The other problem with this scenario is the current blueprints for the Barclays Center.
It was built for an NBA team and the sight lines would not work well. Therefore, many seats would have to be closed for NHL games and the estimated capacity for NHL games would be about 14,500: not exactly what the NHL would be looking for.
2) Quebec City
The city of Quebec misses their Nordiques and they are making great strides to secure the resources to lure in another NHL franchise.
They are planning on building an NHL arena, which will cost about $400 million, and it will be completed by 2015 which is extremely convenient.
The Nordiques originally left Quebec for Colorado because of the increasing costs to run an NHL team. However, building a new arena shows they might be willing to pony up the necessary cash this time.
One concern that Quebec should have is that with the recent relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg, it remains to be seen if the NHL team owners along with the commissioner, would be willing to put another team north of the border.
1) Nassau County, NY
The most likely scenario for the Islanders is that a compromise is struck between Wang and the citizens of Nassau County to build a new arena.
Wang has publicly stated that he wants to keep the Islanders in Long Island. The only hurdle that still remains is the funding for a new arena.
The Islanders have a large, dedicated fanbase as well as a rich history. It would be a shame to see them leave Long Island. There would be no more rivalry between the Isles and my beloved Rangers and the entire NHL would suffer.
There is still time for an arena to be built. The lease does not run out until 2015—anything can happen before then.