The New York Islanders finally have a new home and it's in Brooklyn, the borough that is suddenly a hot bed of pro sports 54 years after...
NEW YORK — The New York Islanders finally have a new home and it’s in Brooklyn, the borough that is suddenly a hot bed of pro sports 54 years after baseball’s Dodgers headed west.
“It’s a new place, and it’s only 35 minutes away by train,” team owner Charles Wang said at a news conference Wednesday. “Come and join us and see hockey.”
After seven months of negotiations, and offers to move the team out of New York, Wang announced that the Islanders will relocate about 25 miles west once their lease expires at Nassau Coliseum after the 2014-15 season.
Since the day the Islanders entered the NHL in 1972, the Coliseum in Uniondale has been the place for them. It’s where they grabbed the hockey spotlight, outshined the big, bad Rangers, and won the Stanley Cup four straight times from 1980-83.
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But on Wednesday, the future became all about Brooklyn.
The move is hardly shocking and not even unprecedented. The old New York Nets left Nassau Coliseum way back when, relocated to New Jersey, and have moved into their new Brooklyn home — the new Barclays Center that will also house the Islanders.
Last year, voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum — backed by Wang — that would have allowed Nassau County to borrow $400 million to build a new hockey arena.
Unlike the Nets, who changed the team logo and added Brooklyn to their name, the Islanders are sticking to their heritage through and through.
That is important to Mike Bossy, a Hockey Hall of Famer who now serves as the Islanders’ vice president of corporate partnerships.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Charles’ main goal was to keep the team local, and he succeeded in doing that. As much as people may be upset because it’s not going to be in Nassau County, they should be happy because he kept the team in New York.”
• Commissioner Gary Bettman said it looks as if a full-82 game schedule “is not going to be a reality,” as the lockout nears its seventh week.
Bettman seemed resigned to looking at a shortened season with the NHL and the players’ association still at odds after months of negotiations.
Bettman stated, in making the NHL’s most recent offer, that a deal needed to be in place by Thursday for the season to begin Nov. 2 and allow for a full 82-game slate.
“The fact of the matter is there are just some times that you need to take time off because it’s clear that you can’t do anything to move the process forward,” Bettman said.