Tag: vote

Islanders and Nassau County Agree on New Arena Plan

What do the Islanders need for a new arena? More cowbell!


With the vote for a new arena on Long Island is only ten days away, the Islanders are pulling out all the stops. The team announced they’ll be hosting an event outside Nassau Coliseum with current and former Islanders players, ice girls, and a free concert featuring Blue Oyster Cult. There will also be various speakers including Islanders Owner Charles Wang and County Executive Ed Mangano helping spread the word for a “Yes” vote for a new arena on August 1st. Clearly, Charles Wang doesn’t fear the reaper.

Lead-singer Eric Bloom and the rest of the Blue Oyster Cult have a personal connection to Nassau County, the Coliseum, and the August 1st vote:

“We’re really looking forward to playing the Nassau Coliseum again. It’s the building closest to home for us. We support the effort to get people to vote yes for a new arena. We played many great shows there and living in Nassau County, we all know this area needs a new building that can become a true destination for concert goers, families and hockey fans.”

For those outside the Long Island area, Nassau County residents will vote whether or not they want to borrow money to build a new arena and minor league baseball stadium on August 1st. Wang and the Islanders have repeatedly tried to build a new arena in Long Island to replace the outdated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum—but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Town of Hempstead and opposition groups. The newest proposals for a new arena are nowhere near as impressive as the ill-fated Lighthouse Project from last year, but still would provide a $400 million bond to get the new arena project off the ground.

Newsday published a report from Camoin Associates that described the economic nightmare a new arena isn’t built and the Islanders leave town:

“Nassau County’s economy could lose $243.4 million annually if the New York Islanders leave the region after the club’s lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, according to a new report from the county’s economic consultants.

If the Coliseum were to shutter, it also would take with it 2,660 jobs and nearly $104 million in annual earnings, said the report, expected to be released Monday. Nassau also would lose about $8 million a year in tax revenue that would be generated by the arena in 2015 and beyond.”

Nick Giglia has been doing a great job following the story at both Lighthouse Hockey and Let There Be Light(house). He’s explained how the local media has ignored a report that concluded the new arena would only cost homeowners $0.26 per week and how to argue with an arena skeptic. While people around Islander Nation seem to be some of the most educated on the issues, we’ll have to wait until the evening of August 1st until we find out if the electorate passes the arena deal. Until then, the Islanders are doing what they can to get the word out to help educate the public on the economic impact a new arena could have on the area.

Unfortunately, there’s no word if Christopher Walkin or Will Ferrell will be on hand to lend the band a helping hand with any financial forecasts.

Rivalry put on hold: Current and former Rangers lend support for upcoming Long Island arena vote

New York Rangers v New York Islanders

Many Islanders fans will tell you they hate just about everything to do with the Rangers. Likewise, many Rangers will share the same feelings towards anything related to the Islanders organization. Consider it one of the perks of a bitter rivalry that spans almost 40 years. But as much as the two sides love to hate one another, dire situations tend to bring out the best in one another. For the Islanders, they face an important Nassau County vote on August 1st regarding public funding for a new arena in Long Island. Note: this is not the same thing as the ill-fated Lighthouse Project that was killed last summer by Kate Murray and the rest of the Town of Hempstead. If they are unable to secure funding for a better home, the Islanders may be forced to look outside of Long Island for a future home.

Fans and players alike on both sides of the New York hockey aisle know that an Islanders departure would ruin something special. They may dislike one another on the ice—but everyone seems to love the rivalry. If the Islanders were forced to move, it would kill something distinctive for all hockey fans in the area—it would be the same for both Islanders and Rangers fans.

A few former Rangers players shared their thoughts on the rivalry and how important it is to keep the Islanders on Long Island. Rod Gilbert scored over 400 goals and over 1000 points over parts of 18 seasons with the Rangers. Even though he played his entire career with the Broadway Blueshirts, he wants the best for Islanders fans:

“I want to see this situation with the arena finally get settled and I know I speak for the Rangers organization when I say that I want to see the Islanders franchise strong forever and ever. I also want their fans to have a team that will never play anywhere else except where they won those Stanley Cups. It’s time the Islanders and their fans were rewarded.”

Fellow Rangers legend and Hall of Famer Brian Leetch shared similar feelings on the arena issue and towards the fans on Long Island:

“Islanders fans have proven their support for the team. It would be bad for the area’s hockey fans and for the NHL to lose this rivalry. The health of the Islanders is important to the league, I know that. It’s disappointing to see the friction over the new arena, but I really hope it gets figured out and the Islanders are able to be competitive for a long, long time. The fans are there, there’s no question in my mind about that. The fans have proven it before. There are a lot who are just waiting to get back in there and fill the place.”

Without getting too deep into the politics of the situation, it’s great to see hockey people getting together for the greater good. Politicians have stated that the referendum (if it passes) would cost Long Island residents $58 per household—a number that has been proven wrong by the folks over at Lighthouse Hockey. Like anything else, the more successful the arena (and team) are in the standings and box office, the more successful they’ll be in the profit column. The Islanders have the potential to make money with a new arena and exciting, young team over the next few years. Members of the Rangers organization know it—we’ll see if the residents in Long Island share their vision.

Of course, there are always other alternatives if the arena deal fails at ballot box.

“…to an Islanders fan, the cost of replacing the Islanders with a Target, Dave and Busters and an Olive Garden is way, way more than $17 per year. But if you are an arena skeptic, I assume that doesn’t count for much.”

Not even Rangers fans would want to see that.