The Islanders Are Planning To Leave In 2015
Ed Mangano can repeat himself multiple times on Twitter, stating that he is doing everything he can in his "ongoing plans" to keep the Islanders in Uniondale, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has made it clear: the Islanders will be leaving Nassau County in 2015.
A front page article was released in Newsday this weekend that had Bettman's words put directly on paper, making the harsh reality of the Islanders Coliseum problems look even more hopeless. He was quick to say that the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County have done a terrible job of trying to come up with a new plan to renovate the 40-year old arena. As a result, he is looking into other possible destinations for the New York Islanders.
"We're continuing to explore and look at the options," he said. "But it's clear that Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead don't seem to be invested in having a new arena in the place that probably makes the most sense, namely where the Nassau Coliseum is."
This possibility had been tossed around since the Lighthouse Project was developed over ten years ago and grew more possible with every day that the idea collected dust on Kate Murray's desk. With a failed referendum last summer to follow the dismantling of the Lighthouse Project, owner Charles Wang has been given no choice but to explore other options. (stayclassynet/Flickr)
Wang recently told Howie Rose during one of the last home games of the season that he has thought about Brooklyn and Queens, and although his main goal is to keep the Islanders in Nassau, he is talking with other people about second best solutions. This is not the Charles Wang we heard a few years ago; back then, those words would not have even escaped his mouth. His open minded stance is his way of informing us that he is at a loss.
That's why Bettman has made his position clear. He is currently exploring opportunities in the metropolitan area and basically disregarded Brooklyn as a viable option. For those of you reading that are season ticket holders and live far out in Suffolk County, already commuting about 45 minutes or longer to get to a game, will you renew your tickets if they go another hour further west? I don't think so.
Bettman also stated that he is not considering places like Quebec, Kansas City or other places that are hungry for an NHL franchise...yet. He is not one to move teams and he has shown that he is hesitant about relocating teams that have a rich history. The Islanders dynasty of four Stanley Cups in a row, the Easter Epic, the greats of Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy are not mental images that he wants to erase. Look at the Phoenix Coyotes; they may not have won a Cup, but they are a relevant hockey team, especially if you were an avid fan during the 90's era with Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour. The Edmonton Oilers were at one point being considered for a move to Minnesota as well. Bettman wasn't for the move and supported the sale to new ownership that kept them in Edmonton. If he wanted to save one dynasty, he is likely going to fight hard to save another.
But history doesn't always have to repeat itself.
Despite his bold statements about the Islanders likely leaving Nassau, it seems as if he is trying to keep them exactly where they belong. Stating that "Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead are either unable or unwilling to deal with the situation" seems to be his way of forcing these two sides to come to some sort of an agreement with Wang to resolve the issue quicker than they are currently handling it.
Ed Mangano is apparently working on a plan that he will reveal in the near future, but it is uncertain of what type of plan it will be and if it is even worthy of being considered. He was recently harassed by several Isles fans on Twitter, looking for answers after reading this article. Although he responded, he refused to say what is being considered for the next Coliseum plan because he wasn't at liberty to do so.
As it stands now, nothing feels warm and cozy for the fans on Long Island.