New York Islanders: 5 Locations They Could Move to When Their Lease Is Up
After the failed August 1st vote, it looks like the New York Islanders may be looking for a new home. Whether that is in New York or somewhere else has yet to be determined.
Islanders owner Charles Wang made it very clear that if the vote didn't pass, he would search for other options. He did say, however, that he is committed to Long Island. Does that mean there is a possibility for the team to stay put? Of course. But if this continues any longer, the Islanders could fall into a tough spot.
Many cities and locations have expressed interest in a hockey team. Whether they are a serious contender to get one or not is a different story. So with all that said, let's take a look at the top five possible locations for the Islanders.
5. Quebec City
The people of Quebec City, some of which are shown here at the Coliseum in December, want an NHL team back. But could this even be a reality?
Quebec City has an arena that will be built by 2015, which just happens to be the same year the Isles lease is up. The Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, which may open up options for other teams to move to Canada.
But I think there are a few problems with this. Financial problems forced the former Quebec Nordiques to move to Colorado in 1995. Quebec City had the smallest market in the NHL at the time, and even one of the smallest in pro sports. The Nordiques had a good fanbase, but it wasn't enough to keep the team there. I don't think it would be wise for a team that is already in a difficult financial position to move to an area that could possibly make it worse.
Alright, so the vote didn't pass on August 1st. So the Islanders are done in Nassau, right? Well, maybe not.
The lease between the Islanders and Nassau County ends in 2015. The team is then free to look for other options. It seems like the Isles are willing to listen to all options, including Nassau. Even though the vote failed, it doesn't mean it is all over.
I personally don't think it is possible at this point for them to stay in Nassau. This is the second time something has been turned down by Nassau. I don't think Charles Wang wants to make it three times. It may be time to look for options outside of Nassau.
3. Kansas City
Kansas City may be the best option outside of Long Island right now.
Pictured above is the Sprint Center, an arena that is already ready for a pro team.The arena opened in 2007. It can seat up to 17,752 for hockey and is a huge upgrade over the aging Coliseum. The Islanders even played a preseason game there in 2009.
I think there would be fans that would support the team as well. It seems like a great arena and definitely would be great for the organization. I think that this would be a last resort, though, in the event that no agreement is settled somewhere in New York.
Brooklyn has a new arena and would love to have a hockey team there. The Barclays Center, which is being built for the NBA's Nets, could house a hockey team.
Moving to Brooklyn could increase media exposure for the team that they were lacking in Nassau. Being closer to the rival Rangers could also maybe fuel the rivalry even move.
There are question marks, though, about Brooklyn. The arena can only seat a little over 14,000 people for hockey—less then the Nassau Coliseum holds. Another problem is that the sidelines would be bad for a hockey game—another downgrade from the Coliseum, which has very good views of the ice.
Of course, this would keep the Isles on Long Island. If there was a possibility of changing the configuration the the arena, I could definitely see Brooklyn as a very good option.
Could Charles Wang's Lighthouse Project become a reality in Queens? If everything goes right, there is a great possibility,
Queens is the best option at this point. The area around Citi Field, Willets Point—the home of the New York Mets—could be redeveloped. There are 61 acres of land that would be available for contraction. Also, being closer to New York City, but still not too far from Nassau, is a huge plus. Fans can still get to games easily while the team gets more exposure. The area is also close to major transportation sites like the Long Island Railroad, LaGuardia Airport and the Grand Central Parkway.
The Lighthouse Project would need to be scaled down (it was originally planed for 150 acres), but that shouldn't be a problem. Queens has expressed interest in the Islanders, so it is not far from reality. It's win for everyone. Charles Wang gets his project through, the Islanders get a new arena, the team stays on Long Island and the fans will be happy.