The New York Islanders are busy looking for a way to stay on Long Island with their lease at Nassau Coliseum coming to an end in 2015, but owner Charles Wang may be starting to look elsewhere for a solution to a new arena.
Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank reports that while Wang has long said he’s dead set on keeping the Islanders in New York, he’s letting his eye stray elsewhere.
Wang does not want to leave Nassau County, and staying put remains his first choice. But when I asked top executives to confirm that Wang will only consider overtures from municipalities within the New York metropolitan area, I could not get a promise on or off the record.
“I can’t guarantee that anymore,” said one source on high. “They are looking at options inside and outside of New York State. It would be misleading to say New York only.”
So there you have it.
After Wang wasn’t allowed to build his Lighthouse Project and after getting his arena referendum shot down this summer, it’s easy to see why Wang is frustrated with the situation. There is the Barclays Center opening in Brooklyn in the fall of this year, and while the Isles will play a preseason game there in October, the building wasn’t constructed with hockey in mind.
While the folks in Brooklyn may want the Islanders to make it their home, with a capacity that’s smaller than what Winnipeg has going on, the team can’t clean up on tickets there and Wang is assuredly tired of losing money.
Only thing for sure out of this, people in Quebec City, Seattle, and Kansas City are suddenly a lot more curious about how the Islanders are doing.