Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We Interrupt This Lockout...

We interrupt this National Hockey League lockout (and self-imposed hibernation of this blog) to bring you some actual news.

The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn!

After years of false starts, false promises, dashed hopes, and political maneuvering, the fans finally have a concrete plan in place for the future of their beloved (and beleaguered) franchise.

At a press conference organized on Wednesday (10/24) afternoon, team owners, officials, league officials, and New York City politicians delivered the news at the new Barclays Center.

The New York Islanders (the name will remain unchanged) will begin play in the borough of Brooklyn on a 25-year agreement beginning in the 2015-2016 season.

Islanders owner Charles Wang described the new pact as "ironclad." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated unequivocally to the fans "You don't have to worry about the future of this club."

The plans currently call for a 14,500 hockey capacity, which would be the smallest in the league, but officials were quick to point out that a similar arena capacity hasn't financially hindered the current Winnipeg franchise in any way.

The focus of the conference was less about financial numbers (no specific dollar amounts were given) and more about the wonderful location and building the Islanders are set to enjoy.

The crowd in attendance was told that "More mass transit under this building than any other stadium in New York."

For those of you unfamiliar with the building or area, 11 subway lines and the Long Island Railroad serve the Barclays Center.

While there are a few questions about what type of fans (meaning 'corporate' or 'die-hard') the new arena will draw and from where, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a positive step for the Islanders on many levels.

With Nassau County unable or unwilling to offer a replacement for the aging Nassau Coliseum, I think Brooklyn is the best, most reasonable solution.

Ask yourself this: Would you rather be able to attend games in Brooklyn or watch your team solely on television as they played fans in a different market?

Throughout the say I received calls from people complaining about making the trip to Brooklyn. But don't many of us make (essentially) the same trip to Penn Station for other sports, bars, clubs, shows, museums, etc.? I know I do.

I know for some of you this is not the OPTIMAL solution, but it is a solution. The team remains in New York, in a place that should have increased revenue streams, with a MUCH nicer facility, and should attract more fans and players.

The biggest issue surrounding this club and its profitability/viability for YEARS has been removed. As we travel into the future together as New York Islanders fans, I think today's decision will be looked back upon as one that was very good for the team.