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:
25 YEAR LEASE
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!