The distance between the New York Islanders practice facility in Nassau and the arena in Brooklyn is said to be an issue. But looking around the league this setup isn’t a unique one. So why is this an “issue”?
The New York Islanders play home game at the Barclays Center and practice in Nassau County at the Northwell Health Ice Center. The distance between the two is 28.9 miles. It’s admittedly quite the haul from one to the other. But the Islanders aren’t the only team with this “problem”.
In fact, when you look at the distances between arena and practice facilities around the league six teams, including the Islanders face a 20+ mile commute. Five other teams have a commute of over 15 miles.
So why are the New York Islanders the only team where this seems like an issue?
Just recently Newsday Arthur Staple alluded to this “issue” when speaking about John Tavares leaving the Islanders. He listed travel along with the ice as factors.
A few fans rightfully pointed out that a commute to and from the arena and practice facility is no different for other teams in the league. I thought I’d pull up some numbers.
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To The Numbers!
The average distance to and from the arena and practice facility around the NHL is just over 10 miles. That number is low thanks to teams like Edmonton, Columbus, and Buffalo practicing in the same complex they play in.
In terms of distance, the New York Islanders rank second with 28.9 miles. The Arizona Coyotes have the worst in the league a 32.7-mile hike from their practice facility to the arena.
The New York Rangers are just under a mile and a half short with the third longest commute in the league from MSG to Tarrytown. Why is that never brought up around the league aside from when us Isles fans bring it up?Practice FacilityArena
Ice Den Scottsdale
Gila River Arena
Northwell Health Ice CenterBarclays Center
MSG Training Center
St Louis Blues
St. Louis Ice Zone
Dr. Pepper Arena
American Airlines Center
UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
Free agents don’t seem to have any qualms with that commute. And then look at the other teams that have a 20+ mile commute. St. Louis, Dallas, Pittsburgh round out the top six. We don’t see any of these teams, minus Arizona, have any difficulties landing free agents. Dallas picked-up Alex Radulov and Ben Bishop this offseason.
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We don’t hear about the plight of Sidney Crosby having to trek 20 miles from the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex to the PP&G Paints Arena. Or how Henrik Lundqvist is hating driving up to Tarrytown. These are non-issues for any other team in the league.
The New York Islanders aren’t unique in the fact that their practice arena isn’t symbiotically attached to the playing arena. A total of 13 teams have a commute that’s over ten miles. So why focus on it for the Isles?
Because the New York Islanders are having a very public and visible slog with the Barclays Center. So intrepid writers look up facts and tidbits about the team and see that the isles have a long commute. They aren’t wrong. Traveling 28.9 miles isn’t short. So that becomes the reoccurring theme.
Even though this isn’t unique to just the New York Islanders. So feel free to scoff and sigh whenever you hear anyone bring up travel as a singular issue facing the New York Islanders. Because it isn’t.