Saturday, October 27, 2012

Islanders make a commute

Technically we guess, they can still call the club the Islanders, though it perhaps is a bit of a stretch considering the land mass that Brooklyn takes in as part of the Metropolitan New York area.

This week's announcement that Charles Wang is moving his hockey club closer to the epicentre of life in New York and it's corporate offices was the actual surprising news of the week, (sadly the cancellation of yet more games for November wasn't) with Wang's Islanders set to join up with the newly moved  Brooklyn Nets, taking up residence of the Barclay's Centre with the hottest of sport's team of the moment in NYC.
The Islanders, who have been involved in a long, drawn out battle with Long Island officials for a new home for the once marquee franchise, seemingly found the lure of relocation too strong, adding to the vibe of a part of New York sports scene that last resonated when some team called the Dodgers had a place to play there.

The success of the transplant of the Nets from Newark to Jay Z's neighbourhood has been the marketing dream of the year so far for the NBA, with sales of Brooklyn themed items outpacing all other teams of the NBA.

The Barclay's Centre has already featured it's first game, an exhibition session that brought life to a neighbourhood and pride to a borough that hasn't been seen in a long, long time. To all of that excitement Mr. Wang hopes to bring his hockey club, though he will while away a few more years in Nassau county, the attendance numbers (should the NHL ever get around to getting back on the ice) we imagine reflective of the woes of Wang through the last number of years.

The move to Brooklyn takes the Islanders into what will be the smallest of arenas in the NHL, less even than the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, yet Wang seems to have taken a page out of the Jets blue print, where small is better, with more luxury boxes for added income, we imagine he believes the Islanders will at least stem the flow of red ink that was the feature of the attendance count of Islander games last year.

For such stars as John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, the move to Brooklyn will offer up a chance to share in some of the spotlight that the Rangers players enjoy, the Islanders while rather woeful on the ice the last few seasons are one team that should be poised for success moving forward (providing management doesn't make any additions to the lengthy list of head scratching decisions of the past).

When your average attendance is around the 12,000 mark or so, the noise and excitement of a packed house and a happening place could do wonders for the morale of the once dominant Stanley Cup holders of the past.

As the last few seasons have played out and the negotiations and discussions became more acrimonious by the week, the Islanders appeared to be a team in exile, once part of the New York sports scene now so out of the loop it was as if they were already playing in Quebec City, Kansas City, Hamilton or any other destination mentioned over the years.

With all this new found excitement over the future, the only concern is holding it all together as they play out the string on Long Island until 2015.

It does provide for a situation that would seem to portend some dark days for the team before the dawn of the new Islander era in Brooklyn, but as they say it's always darkest before the dawn.

The decision to head for Brooklyn no doubt came much to the relief of the NHL, which we imagine was loathe to lose a franchise in its most important media centre. Putting a four time Stanley Cup champion at the other end of the Brooklyn Bridge probably is about as good a scenario as Gary Bettman could have come up with.

There has been a renaissance for Brooklyn in the last decade, no longer thought of as the forgotten borough it's becoming a destination spot all to itself, so much so, that Charles Wang is making it his destination location

New York Post-- Move to Barclay's is a win for Islanders, fans & New York City
New York Post-- Puck drops here for the Islanders
New York Post-- Islanders' move draws mixed reaction
New York Post-- Islanders leave behind glory years, Coliseum memories
New York Daily News-- NY Islanders' move to Brooklyn's Barclays Centre is latest case of team...
New York Daily News-- Barclay's Centre and NY Islanders announce NHL franchise to relocate...
New York Daily News-- NY Islanders are on the move, heading to Brooklyn and Barclay's Centre...
New York Daily News-- Brooklyn has an NHL team, and now fans can buy a T-shirt ...
New York Daily News-- NY Islanders moving to Brooklyn faces no big protest...
New York Times-- Capsized Franchise Has Only Sunk Further into Despair
New York Times-- A Team by Any Other Name May Be Less Confusing
New York Times-- An owner with some Eyebrow-Raising Moves
New York Times-- Islanders' Brooklyn Move Raises Complex Issues
new York Times-- Should the Islanders Keep Their Name?
New York Times-- With Team's move, Pondering Tailgating on a Train
Newsday-- Loss of Islanders symbolizes Long Island's weaknesses
Newsday-- Rangers are fine with Islanders' move
Newsday-- Hub development a challenge as Isles quit
Newsday-- Gary Bettman: Barclay's Center size doesn't matter
Newsday-- Isles GM Garth Snow has a selling point now with new arena
Newsday-- Islanders make 'iron clad' 25 year commitment to Brooklyn
Newsday-- Charles Wang says move to Brooklyn won't affect name
Newsday-- Islanders brand should grow in Brooklyn
Newsday-- Former Islanders have mixed feelings about leaving Nassau Coliseum
Newsday-- After years of trying to keep Islanders in Nassau, Charles Wang chose alternative
Newsday-- Little economic hit from Islanders' loss
Newsday-- Loss of Islanders Nassau's wake-up call
Newsday-- Islanders fans: At least the team will stay in NY
Newsday-- Many longtime Islanders fans upset
Newsday-- The Islanders' Cup-winning teams in the 19080's put Long Island on the map
National Post--New York Islanders announce move to Brooklyn
National Post-- Islanders move to Brooklyn should be the first of many in the NHL

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