Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bridging the New York Hockey Gap

The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn.

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. The fact that the team and the town/county couldn't figure out a deal for a new arena in the Long Island area is what really pushed the team out the door once their lease is up at the end of the 2015-16 NHL season.

However, with this and the posturing around the Edmonton Oilers right now-- the last two great dynasties threatening to move out of their current position to a possible new position is a sad state of affairs for those who have grown to love and support their teams, even if they were terrible. While the Oilers move is really presumptuous and not something that will happen in the long-run, it's a chilling thought that really not many teams are safe from relocation-- especially if their owners play hardball or the city they're housed in do the same.

That said, this should be a good move for the Islanders. The Barclay Center only holds 14,500 for hockey, but in the new "smaller is better" trend we've seen in the NHL (read: MTS Centre), this should be perfect for a team still trying to get their footing underneath them. Canadian Press reporter Chris Johnston mentioned that the last time the Isles reached that average attendance was in 2002-03 when they hit 14,930. Plus, it's much closer to Madison Square Garden by 20 miles, which should be a nice little option for Rangers fans to see a game.

Yet, this all being said-- something about the old mausoleum will be missed by some. Many of the old Islanders probably will be a bit miffed if there is a name change or there's a logo change (despite the Fisherman logo that peek it's head out there), because that's been the identity of the team and what made the team famous.

In the end, this is something that's going to possible attract some players to the team and actually build up a winner. They get the shiny building they wanted and didn't have to put out much money to do so. I'm sure the lease contract could be an interesting one and whether or not the Barclay's will actually put more seats in for hockey remains to be seen. Bottom line is that Charles Wang actually following through on his promise to move the team, even if it's only 20 miles south west.

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