Despite NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s wish that the New York Islanders leave for Brooklyn after the 2013-14 NHL season, one year earlier than their move to the Barclays Center was originally planned, it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen.
“It’s highly unlikely,” said developer Bruce Ratner Friday, one day after his group won the bid to renovate Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the soon-to-be-former home of the Isles.
So that’s one takeaway from today’s press conference — the Isles are probably staying put for two more years. Here’s another takeaway, from Newsday:
Ratner announced that the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the American Hockey League minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders, would relocate to the Uniondale arena after the building is renovated.
Granted, in a statement (per IslandersPointBlank), the AHL club is saying, not so fast:
“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here.”
But it should be noted that the Tigers are owned by Charles Wang, who also owns the Islanders, so the club could, in fact, be hearing otherwise.
There are rumors that the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford could move to Bridgeport to replace the Tigers.