(Long Island, N.Y.) Yes, the initial shock of losing their professional hockey team may have hit Long Islanders hard, but the big picture makes total sense once it is looked at from afar. Owner Charles Wang did everything but put the shovel in the ground himself to either build a new or refurbish the old Nassau Coliseum. He should not be viewed as a modern day Walter O’Malley in any shape or form.
If anything, Wang should be thanked for his patience and the years of stonewalled negotiations with politicians and officials that made his choice an easy one. So considering that the move was still basically a local one, he comes out of this shining bright.
It is kind of surreal to even be bantering about the NHL, considering that they are in the midst of a lockout that is threatening the entire campaign. And that the Islanders are not making their official move to Brooklyn until 2015 when their current lease runs out. But the business side of things must go on in the sports world and this was a move that may result in a much better situation for the organization than they currently have.
Makes no mistake about it, the Islanders are the last club that any potential free agent would choose to sign with. They are a weak team playing in an antiquated arena and outshined by the Rangers in the Big Apple. The four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from the early 1980s are about as far away as the Super Bowl III win for the Jets – in more ways than one.
Hockey is way down on the sports totem pole as it is and a struggling franchise that gets barely any coverage is not a profitable business venture, especially in these trying economic times. So give Wang credit for making the best deal possible and not leaving for other greener pastures in Kansas City or Saskatoon.
“It was our goal from Day One to keep the Islanders in the local New York area,” Wang said at a press conference held at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, which will be the team’s new home. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play (here), a first class arena. This has been a long journey for the Islanders family starting with our loyal fans, sponsors and employees. I want to thank them personally for their patience, loyalty and support.
“I am excited about today’s announcement and I am looking forward to a long and successful future in Brooklyn.”
The plan is to keep the same team name, colors and logo, but it will be interesting to see if that changes in the next few years before the players are actually wearing the jerseys.
The map of Long Island – and the name Islanders, as well – doesn’t really fit in the Borough of Churches (but neither does the Utah Jazz, which was a great fit in their original home of New Orleans).
It would probably make more sense to reinvent the franchise similar to the Brooklyn Nets, who went from a basically unknown organization in New Jersey to the new darling of the NBA – and the season is only a few games old.
Can the Brooklyn Ice make the same impact? We may never know…