After years of legal and political wrangling, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that the rights to redevelop the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum had been awarded yesterday.
The only problem for New York Islanders fans is that despite winning the bid to transform the 77-acre Coliseum site into Long Island’s hub of sports activity, Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises will be rehabilitating an area that will not play host to the hometown Isles.
The group known as Nassau Events Center—led by Ratner’s company—won the bid over James Dolan’s MSG Company by offering the county $1.4 million in annual rent revenue, which Mangano couldn’t turn down.
The Islanders, however, will relocate to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center no later than 2015 after being effectively forced out of Uniondale by its politicians and voters.
A new start for the storied franchise may serve to erase some of the bad memories of the political process that ended their stay in Nassau County, which began with the team’s establishment in 1972.
Even though Ratner’s company will renovate the Coliseum and Ratner owns Barclays Center, there is little to no chance of the Isles returning to Nassau on a full-time basis once the redevelopment effort is complete. Too much bad blood between team ownership and the county will make such a return nearly impossible.
But take solace, Isles fans: the club is headed in the right direction—even if their physical move will be to the west—and the Stanley Cup window for the team is just now opening.
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Two Minutes For Tweeting
The countdown to Islanders hockey is creeping closer to completion. Pretty soon Isles fans won’t have to see Long Island politics dominating the sports page; Isles Nation can focus on the team’s #Drive4Five, which begins on Oct. 4 against the New Jersey Devils.
It looks like John is in mid-season trolling form with this tweet. It’s never too early to start practicing your shot-taking skills when it comes to one of the NHL’s top rivalries.
The Islanders need Kyle Okposo to carry over his end-of-season form into the 2013-14 year if they want to have a shot at the playoffs, and ultimately, the Stanley Cup. Slow starts have been a problem for Okposo in the past, but his offseason training regimen with John Tavares might motivate him to play at a high level from the season’s first faceoff.
This seems to be the prevailing sentiment among Islanders fans, which are mostly fed up with the entire process that failed to keep their team on Long Island.
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