There’s been plenty to talk about concerning the sale of the New York Islanders lately. From Charles Wang’s dealings with Andrew Barroway, to the sale of the team to former Washington Capitals owner Jon Ledecky, and the recent revelation there was even a third party involved as well.
Of course, the biggest part of the Islanders’ situation is their impending move to Brooklyn from Long Island.
Wang tried valiantly to refurbish Nassau Coliseum with his own money only to be rebuffed by Nassau County politicians. As Neil Best at Newsday shared, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman puts all the blame for the Islanders’ slight relocation on the government leaders who helped make it all possible.
“This is a situation that is not of the Islanders’ making,” Bettman said. “The responsibility for what’s happened really lies with Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. For the fans in Nassau, not just of the Islanders, but of circuses and rock concerts and the like, it’s a shame.
“The great news is the Islanders have a terrific arena to go to and this is an exciting opportunity for the franchise moving forward.”
Barclay’s Center will make for a fancy new home for the Isles, but the heart of the team is still held on Long Island. Say what you will about Bettman, but he’s 100% on point here.
Never mind the part about how they wouldn’t allow Wang to spend his own money to fix up and improve the Coliseum along with the area around it, but also the County and Town’s workaround by putting a plan based around taxpayer money up for referendum that was then voted down.
It was a political comedy of errors in which the victims were the fans and the businesses around the Coliseum that relied on Islanders attendance to give them a lift. Now the Isles will call Brooklyn home next season and the fans will have to spend plenty of time on the train there and back thinking about how much it stinks to be that much further away from their favorite team.