Sad Day For Islander Country

Islanders 5 Comments on Sad Day For Islander Country

Despite how you feel about the news, it is quite a sad day for anyone who follows the Orange and Blue of the New York Islanders.

I have seen just about every possible reaction possible.  From excitement to anger; from rage, to bewilderment.  You name it, I have heard it.

This announcement came as a total surprise to just about everyone involved.  No one saw it coming, and at 10:00 AM, it hit like a 2 ton nuclear bomb.

It is funny; the other day, I was walking the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach.  Since I was walking as a group member of the New York Islanders Booster Club, I decided to bring out the colors.  Had my 40th Anniversary fleece, and Islander warm up pants to go with my Islanders ball cap.  Of course you get the Let’s go Islander chants from people, but a gentleman came up to me, and asked me this.

Think the Islanders are going to Brooklyn?

“NO!”, replied emphatically by both my Wife and I.

Well – three days later, our words should have been eaten.

With the words, “Hello, Brooklyn!”, screamed by Charles Wang, the dream of the Islanders having either Nassau or Suffolk county as their home went down the drain.  The agreement begins at 2015-16, after the Islanders complete their current lease at the Coliseum.  So the old barn will be on ‘lame duck’ mode for at least two years (and maybe three if they get their act together on this season).

I know that many of my friends have already said they want to get their money back for this season; they have said that it’s enough.  They want no part of this team, if it is not where it is supposed to be.  Within an hour of the announcement, a great deal of people that I know, were already giving up.  The amount of disappointment is making the day as grayer as the sky today was.

Even the former Islander greats are showing their disappointment about the decision.  Denis Potvin talked about it with the Hockey News.

“You’re kidding,” Potvin said when THN informed him of the breaking news that Isles owner Charles Wang will move the team to Brooklyn’s new Barclay Center when their lease with decrepit Nassau Coliseum expires in the spring of 2015. “Even though my relationship with the Islanders is very minimal, I was a big supporter of them trying to get the vote for (a new arena to replace Nassau) and keep the team in Uniondale. But one thing about Mr. Wang, he likes a lot of control and obviously he’s not willing to give up the franchise, which is a good thing for continuity. Maybe they can better position themselves to be competitive in that building. That’s the best I can hope for.”

So, what do I think?

Well – if I was a game show host, I would have the secret word of the day be:


With the timeline being what it is – there was just no way that there was going to be a new building open by October 2015, with nothing in place as of now.  I get it.  There was just no way around it.  What my hope was – that Brooklyn would be a temporary option.  Kind of a ‘borrowed’ home for a year or two, until a new building would be built somewhere else.

I could have lived with that.  I could have dealt with the LIRR and transportation woes for a limited time.  I could deal with late evenings and then getting up early in the morning.  As long as I would know that it was ‘temporary’.

Then the words that gave me the willies:


Boom!  Hit me like a ton of bricks.   Gives a little finality to it.  Again – do what you will, but it gives that situation a little more ‘real feel’ to it.

Now that it is here, what will I do?

I am STILL GOING TO SUPPORT THIS TEAM! There are still 20 players wearing that crest every hockey game, and I am going to follow that, despite the change in venue.  I will not go to every home game anymore, that’s for sure.  It is out of the realm of possibility.  I am used to having that 25 minute drive to the arena from my Halesite home.  I can deal with the weekend game, but not during the week.  I just do not want to get home at midnight.  Does not mean that I will follow the team any less.  I still bleed Orange and Blue, and that will not go away.

Well – got that off of my chest.  There are other things to think about.  The Sound Tigers have three in three this weekend, and a chance to make a move higher in the conference standing in the AHL.  Nino Niederreiter is starting out fantastic and the team is gelling real well.  I am going to concentrate on this for now.  June 1, 2015 is a long time from now.  We have more things to deal with that are more important than this.  I will have time then to reflect about it, but for now – Let’s Go Tigers!


Gary Harding

Gary Harding is the Lead Writer of Isles Talk. A former President of the Islanders Booster Club, and a season ticket holder for over 24 years, Gary qualifies as a ‘long suffering’ Islander fan. He, and his wife, Claire, sit in row A of Section 317, and attend just about every game possible, as well as a few road games in the year, too. He has been a member of the“Islanders Blog Box” since 2008; a project that allows bloggers like him, to be able to obtain media credentials to Islander home games, and get the perspective of reporting a game, just as if he is a full blown member of the media. Starting in August of 2013, John Panarese and Gary are talk show hosts on SPORTS TALK 1240 - a Part of the Sports Radio New York group on WGBB AM-1240. John and Gary are on at least once a month - talking about New York Sports (with a little Islander influence). Gary, born and raised in Levittown, on Long Island, and worked for a major car rental company for almost 26 years, and now is a Process Improvement Analyst for Icon Central Laboratories. He has been married to Claire for 7 years. They met on a bus trip to see the Islanders play in Montreal. Gary also is a fan of the New York Mets, Long Island Ducks, New York Jets, Everton of the English Premier League, and is a big fan of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Gary is also an accomplished bowler, having achieved perfection on May 4th, 1994, by bowling a perfect 300 game. His highest league average ever was 219, and highest series was 798. Gary also just had weight loss surgery in May of 2013. In the four months following surgery, he has lost nearly 80 pounds, and feels great. For further information on bariatric surgery options, check out Long Island Obesity Surgery. Favorite Isles Moment – Everyone says the cups. They were great. However, I was not a season ticket holder, or going to the games, so my favorite, was the 1993 march to the semi’s – beating Washington and Pittsburgh – the best was seeing Darius Kasparitis punching Lemieux like a rented Mule! Funny how a few years later, they were teammates. Of course, Montreal had NINE guys on the ice when they scored in Overtime in Game 3 of the Semi-Finals. Favorite All time Isles player – Tie – Bossy and Trottier on Offense, and Glenn Healy at the net. (Remember Pens fans, Trottier TAUGHT Mario how to WIN!) Favorite Current Isles player – Okposo and JT – of course – with a close third to Michael Grabner; and with every day appreciating the play of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. This year, I am on the Matt Donovan bandwagon. (If I dont - his mother may hit go after me with a Skeet Gun!! LOL!) Favorite NHL City – Not Long Island – Vancouver with a close second to Ottawa – followed by Montreal (spot a pattern here?) Favorite player – not an Islander I like watching Ovie! – He is animated, funny and makes his mark. Also enjoy watching the Sedin twins play. Also - with his last name being the same as mine - Josh Harding of the Wild. Team I hate the most (what do you think?) Gary currently resides in Halesite, Long Island. His e-mail address is


  1. Chris DeNigris October 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    There is nothing left to say bro you said it as good as I could have. I feel exactly the same way! I live in Babylon. So much for my week day games. This is a sad day and a major inconvenience as Long Island continues to go backwards!

  2. Toby Smith October 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm


  3. Paul Kreischer October 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I understand what you guys will eventually be going through. It takes a lot to get to games when you’re further away, but as an outsider of Nassau County, I believe Nassau could have done or show more over the last 20 years to keep the Islanders where they are now. A lot of people looking from the outside believe that Nassau just didn’t want the Islanders there anymore and that the developers are going to be foaming at the mouth with this news.

  4. Bill Westfall McCue October 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    You guys are looking at this the wrong way. Wang already said he wasn’t going to allow his club to play a day longer in the Coliseum. That’s perfectly fine. The man spent millions trying to get an arena built on in Nassau. Time after time he was turned down what is he supposed to do? Continue playing in games in that decrepit building all while losing tens of millions a season? I think not. It pains me became my family in Section 329 is being broken up. But I’d rather have them playing out on geographic Long Island than playing in Quebec City or Markham Ontario. I’m sure many of us feel that way too.

  5. gharding October 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Bill – I am stating my thoughts on what is happening. I know how bad that dump is. I go all over the US and Canada – I see what other people have. However, I will state that we are ‘spoiled’ as far as having the arena and the access in our back yard. We do not have to spend the money that others do for parking, among other things. As my last few paragraphs stated, I support the crest, and as long as the crest remains on the uniform, I will deal with the move. I just will not be there every game, but it will not diminish my support, or my rooting interests.

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