With the Isles’ lease at Nassau Coliseum set to expire in 2015, and the Town of Hempstead dragging its feet regarding a new arena, Charles Wang may (and likely will) take his purse and his organization to the other side of the city limits.
Chris Botta posted on Sulia via Twitter that Brett Yormark, the CEO of the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets, has reported the Isles’ likelihood of joining his team at the Barclays Center to be “better than 50%.” Does that mean it’s going to happen? Of course not. Nothing is set in stone and the Islanders still have three years to weigh their (limited?) options.
Gary Bettman may not think Brooklyn is such a good idea, but I personally think it’s the best option for the Isles to stay close to their old home, at the very least. From what I’ve been reading, talks between the Isles and Nassau County haven’t been great (to say the least) and as far as accessibility, the Barclays Center is miles above Nassau Coliseum already (for starters, it’s got the LIRR close by going for it). Of course, the county could always renovate the Coli, which would probably be cheaper and still provide the Isles with a home (one commenter on this column by BD Gallof noted that the Isles could play in Barclays for the time being while the renovations took place), but that would still take money that apparently, Nassau does not have (or isn’t willing to pony up).
Another, more recent Gallof column points toward Brooklyn as the new “hope” for the Isles, as the organization has been silent on the matter of staying in Nassau, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s got a lot of potential. Hey, they can still call themselves the “New York Islanders,” seeing as Brooklyn’s geographically on the Island. Also, they’re already playing an exhibition game with the Devils at Barclays, so this could be (and probably is) a sort of feeling-out of the possible new digs. Of course, there’s talk of the parking issues and how difficult it might be for fans in Queens and Long Island to reach Barclays,
More on this as it develops. In the meantime, here’s some reading from Larry Brooks, Lighthouse Hockey and the Daily News (Bettman’s take on it) regarding the matter. Keep in mind that I have stupidly not been keeping up with this story, so many of these are from March and April, but as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been that much new development in the plot.