For Isles Fans, Another Devastating Loss

Nassau residents deliver more heartbreak for a once-proud franchise.

The New York Islanders won't be put on ice today. In 2015? That may be another story.

After nearly two decades of fits and starts, and multiple threats to relocate the team, the downtrodden National Hockey League franchise suffered their latest calamity in their never-ending quest to build that elusive state-of-the-art arena.

that would've let Nassau County borrow to help build a new rink for the team that once made Long Island the center of the hockey universe.

Those years, when Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Billy Smith owned hockey, and when Denis Potvin, Tomas Jonsson and Bobby Nystrom were hoarding Stanley Cup championships, seem like a lifetime ago.

From 1980-83, no one beat the Islanders when it mattered. And unless you were one of the lucky or connected ones, a ticket to see the Islanders was difficult to get. Much easier? Predicting a May parade on Hempstead Turnpike.

For four seasons that's exactly what Long Island got, winning their last Stanley Cup in 1983 with a tidy four-game sweep of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the rest of the favored Edmonton Oilers.

A year later, the Isles would lose to the Oilers in the finals. They haven't been back. In fact, they haven't won a playoff series since 1993. For 18 years, the Isles have been on the short end of the stick, though few defeats have left fans as cold as tonight's loss on a warm August night.

These days, the team has played near the bottom of the standings, both on and off the ice, where attendance has sagged. Two decades of losing will do that. Last season the Isles drew 453,456 fans, dead last in the NHL. On average, 11,059 fans went to each game, more than 1,000 per game behind the second-worst average, set in Phoenix.

In comparison, the New Jersey Devils, who also play in the shadows of New York City, brought in 605,803 fans, or 14,775 per game. Unlike the Islanders the Devils have had success in recent years, winning three Stanley Cups since 1995. New Jersey didn't have Mike Milbury nonsensically trading away future all-stars. Their owner also never signed an unproven goalie to a 15-year-long deal.

Oh, and the Devils have a new arena, the Prudential Center, which opened in 2007. The Newark, N.J.-based building boasts being the third-highest grossing arena in the country.

A new arena on Long Island could be just as successful, contend County Executive Ed Mangano and Isles owner Charles Wang. It could bring in the big-name performers who generally skip right past the 18th largest market in the United States.

The increased attendance would, of course, fill county coffers and ring cash registers at nearby bars and restaurants, where  the team's relocation.

But county taxpayers made it clear that the Drive for Five, and the increased business, won't be built on their backs.

Tonight, Mangano lost. Like on too many other nights, the Islanders lost too.

Wang said he's "heartbroken."

It's a feeling Islanders fans know all too well.

Pete August 07, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Are they going to cut you in on the losses too, though? Isles lose $40mill a year
Pete August 07, 2011 at 08:41 PM
That "Everyone is leaving NY" deal is a myth. According to the 2010 census, NY only lost 100,000 people in the last 10 years. Most of my buddies (all but 1) who left because "everything is too expensive" all came back. There is more to do here, and more job opportunities than in the states they are going to (NC, SC, GA, Fla, etc) Other than the winter weather, there is NO reason to leave LI. Between our proximity to NYC, our own great beaches, etc- this is still the best place on the planet to live, work, and raise a family!
Theliberalconservative August 07, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Ok, better yet, I'll just open my hotdog concession in the New Building....and get to charge 20.00 bucks for a hotdog!!! Do the Mets and Yankees Own their ball parks? Did they ask tax payers to foot part of the bill? I don't know I'm just asking the Question, worse case can't Nassua County issue bonds to build this place? Do the tax payers really in this economy need more taxes..4 dollar gas right now is enough of a burden for most people along with food inflation, you can just squeeze so much out of the public. Sure the place needs some up-dating but if those so called die hard fans love them so much...they would go see them if they were playing in a tent....I honestly enjoyed Shea Stadium...is the new Citi field doing anything for me as a fan? No! But I enjoy the Banter Tom, Maybe the City will build someting for Mr Wang, how about the Staten Islanders! or The Manhattan Islanders!. Those Die hard fans all 10 of them could still get to the games...lol
Tom Gillen August 07, 2011 at 09:52 PM
@theliberalconservative - better have a Plan B....that hot dog idea isn't gonna work out so well, you know, with the whole 'No' vote and the Islanders leaving and all that. Perhaps business management would be a good career....or real estate. Lesson #2: why the place isn't filled. The team has their die hards, just not 16,000 of them to fill the arena nightly (as you know from going to Met games). So nowwww, they need to get that casual family of 4 to come out of the house and come to a game. You said you liked Shea (I did too), so you know as well as I do that if you like the team, you're not gonna stay home just because the stadium isn't world class. When the team is good, people go regardless of the stadium & prices (see: citi field vs. Yankee Stadium). So now the question becomes how do the Islanders get better? Well they need good players. Good players don't want to come because the team facilities are the worst in the league. So you have a bad team with bad attendance, and the team is bad because they can't get any good players, and they can't get any good players because the arena is a dump. Not to mention the franchise is up against renting from a slumlord! Whew! I'd definitely re-think the hot dog idea. At least you're right about one thing - the die had fans will go see them whether it be in Brooklyn, Queens, or elsewhere on the Island.
KpNibbler August 07, 2011 at 10:06 PM
I don't get this whole argument over a losing hockey team.I'm not a hockey fan and no offense to those who are but, if Nassau County was smart, they would ditch the Islanders and start negotiations with one of the Indian Tribes to build a Resort/ Casino...With an event center, you get all the other non sporting gigs and with a Resort Casino, you could draw people from out of state and Manhattan.Negotiate with the tribes to pump money into the economy and lower taxes.Even going further, New York needs to follow what Pennsylvania did a few years back and legalize Casinos. We don't need to flood the market, but 2 or 3 Resort / Casinos on Long Island would help our economy drastically. Take a look at Bethlehem, Pa, Sands Resorts built a Hotel/Casino there in an old steal mill, the town was all but dead...But now, since the Casino opened it's beginning to florish.Tourism in the Poconos is steadily increasing, during non sking months, since the Old Abandoned Mount Airy Lodge was renovated and rebuilt as a Resort/Casino.I have plenty of friends that are Islander fans, some to the point of annoyance, most of them stopped buying season tickets because the team that they love so much sucks.Oh they still go to games, but they don't buy tickets, they pay the couple of bucks for parking and then go tailgate in the parking lot. So it seems to me even die hard fans are not really willing to support their team by buying tickets. So "F" the coliseum and the Islanders, there are alternatives.
Tom Gillen August 07, 2011 at 10:21 PM
The campaign was ran horribly. Mangano did an awful job of educating the voters and explaining why they were asking for a loan. Just goes to show ya how slick the politicians are: so many voters thought it was Wang asking for the $ when it really was the County....it just looks bad for a politician under financial probation to ask for more $ I def agree that the Native Americans have a lot of clout for future development on LI. And if they get involved in the purchase of the site, the Islanders could stay. I just don't see a casino and tons of development getting approved by Hempstead if the scaled down Lighthouse project couldn't even get done. I really think the Native Americans will develop in Suffolk and the Islanders could be a part of that. I hear u about the die hards, but its like anything else - if the team is good, people are a lot more willing to spend $. Combine a good team with a top notch facility and you have a pretty good thing going on. A new Coliseum wouldve been about a lot more than just the Islanders though, think concerts, expos, shows, etc. The Coliseum in its hayday was used for lots of other things besides hockey. For me, a state of the art facility would be a welcome sight in Suffolk. I hope that happens
Tom Gillen August 07, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Ahhh legalize Casinos.....I wish! That would be awesome, plus bring in lots of revenue. Maybe NY will get desperate enough to do that!
Theliberalconservative August 08, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Ahh my hot dog stand on the road to the Casino.....with all the backed up traffice they would be lining up for some food!!!!! Maybe I'll be rich enough to buy the Islanders and then move them to Staten Island...from one land fill to another!
Andrea August 09, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Jimmy - I'm sorry but I disagree. I love NY. I would never live anywhere than Huntington. There are tons of things to do in NY and I'm sorry you don't see that. Though I enjoy traveling and seeing other places in the country/ world I am always thrilled when I get back to Huntington. And hey, if you love Florida, that's great. But I think that's one of the oddest places to pick over NY - the majority of Florida is practically devoid of culture (in my opinion).
JIMMY August 09, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Mr ilberalconservative Your a self serving N.I.M.B.Y, . And Pete the reason people come back and why I came back is family," NEW" York is OLD compared to the rest of the country hence a lot of people have family roots here and want to be near family, there is a lot more to do out of state ,i know I lived in south Florida for 3 years and there is waaay more things to do and places to go then in the NY tri -state. I would love to get out of NY again I regret coming back here, N.Y. is the land of "NO" ecspecially long Island. Most of the people moving to N.Y. is work related and most are foriegners from other countries half probably being illegal alliens. Been to North Carolina and California and let me tell you there is waay more to do there then in N.Y. as well. N.Y. used to be good most sane people left already or are planning to leave.
Andrea August 09, 2011 at 09:10 PM
I realize I already replied just above, and all of that still stands, but it just struck me that you seem to have a real issue with foreigners/ illegals - yet you're talking about South Florida being better! There are a ton of foreigners in South Florida! Anyway, I have no idea where you get your data on why people leave or move back to NY but I think you are likely misinformed. There are a lot of people that love living here - myself included - and we entertain quite a few visitors who come here because of how much there is to do. Perhaps if you took some time to check out all the activities on Long Island/ in New York you might like it better. Or you could leave if you wanted - you are allowed to live wherever you want.
Andrea August 09, 2011 at 09:19 PM
liberalconservative: I believe that the Yankees and Mets own their respective ballparks but not the land. I think that NYC offered some public money for the projects (I think it was a fairly small amount given the overall cost) but that the independent teams financed the rest (or Citi in the case of the Mets). The tax increase is related to Nassau County's attempt to raise the funds by issuing General Obligation bonds (which are generally backed by taxes - as opposed to revenue bonds which I believe was shot down because the plan couldn't guarantee enough revenue).
JIMMY August 10, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Andrea, you can believe what you would like i'm sure i'm not going to change your mind otherwise, and yes I am planning to get the hell out of N.Y..... again. I got my information by being in contact and speaking with literally thousands of people through my job, speaking with thousands from here L.I. to N.Y.C. where I lived for 3 years, so I got my "research " from where it count's speaking with REAL people not some b.s. biased study. Question to everyone- how many times has your street where you lived turned over and where did your neighbors move to? But I guess your a know it all New Yorker that can speak for everyone, that's what you sound like to me.
Andrea August 10, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Ok, any discussion with you is rather pointless and you are incredibly rude. For the record, I live in Huntington village - we don't leave. My friends, family and their families have been here for generations. Most of us grew up here knowing we would stay here - and have stuck to that. Given your depressing grasp of english, spelling and grammar, I do not believe your "research" is something I will be relying on. There, now I'm being rude. Oh well. I'm happy you're leaving.
Louise August 10, 2011 at 09:52 PM
@Andrea - you're right about most LIers remaining loyal to their hometowns. And many who do decide to leave looking for greener pastures return to LI more often than not. Jimmy should, as he put it, get the hell out of NY. He'll end up in a place where everyone is from someplace else and they can all commiserate in their misery. Hell, maybe the Islanders will end up wherever he does. Then he can start all over again railing against the system and how awful the arena is, etc.
JIMMY August 10, 2011 at 10:11 PM
YES! the sooner the better to get away from all you ( know it all ) Long Island yenta's! See guy's and gal's of L.I. THIS IS WHY YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER NEW YORK FOOTBALL TEAM,BASEBALL TEAM,HOCKEY TEAM OR MOTORSPORTS VENUE on Long Island, because these know it all yenta's know what's best for you. Again the land of "NO" I rest my case.
JIMMY August 10, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Ya I will be devastated leaving Long Island,LOL! http://www.wildnatureimages.com/Big%20Sur%20Coast%202.htm http://www.seizetheday-monterey.com/big-sur-california-driving-tips-d.html
Louise August 10, 2011 at 11:44 PM
We won't miss you. Bye.
Andrea August 11, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Perhaps you should find the Patch for your intended area of residence and get to know your new neighbors instead of discussing that which really doesn't or won't apply to you. Then they can all eagerly anticipate your arrival and the joy of having you add to their community.
Walter August 12, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Recent working paper that analyzes much of the research in stadium building: "Researchers who have gone back and looked at economic data for localities that have hosted mega-events, attracted new franchises, or built new sports facilities have almost invariably found little or no economic benefits from spectator sports. Typically, ex post studies of the economic impact of sports have focused on employment (Baade and Matheson, 2002; Feddersen and Maennig, 2009), personal income (Baade and Matheson, 2006a), personal income per capita (Coates and Humphreys, 1999; 2002), taxable sales (Porter, 1999; Coates and Depken, 2009; Baumann, Baade, and Matheson, 2008), or tourist arrivals (Lavoie and Rodriguez, 2005; Baumann, Matheson, and Muroi, 2009). These studies and a multitude of others generally find that the actual economic impact of 12 sports teams or events is a fraction of that claimed by the boosters, and in some cases actually show a reduction in economic activity due to sports."
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:03 AM
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:20 AM
the dominant resource in recent years appears to be the Daytona Beach International Speedway, which hosts several car-racing events. Table 1 provides a summary of these annual events and the profile of the attendees. Collectively,these events contribute over $1.6 billion to the city’s economy on an annual basis, and generate over 36,000 full time equivalent jobs (Soskin, 2001). Special events in Daytona Beach can be grouped into four categories: The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR)-sanctioned automobile races, which usually take place in January, February and July; Motor Cycle Events – Bike Week in March and Biketoberfest in October; Spring Break, which takes place from late February till March;Annually, over 1.3 million tourists visit Daytona Beach to attend these events (Soskin, 2001).
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Individually, each event contributes the following to the local economy: Spring Break generates $196 million in economic output (direct spending by visitors on goods and services), $129 million in value added (portion contributed to local businesses) and generates 4,580 jobs; Black College Reunion generates $145 million in economic output,$128 million in value added and generates 3,500 jobs; Bike Week and Biketoberfest combined generate $744 million in output, $492 million in value added and 17,850 jobs; Speed Week and the Pepsi 400 generate $561 million in output, $376 million in value added and 10,580 jobs. The net economic impact of each special event is as follows: Bike Week $600 million, motor race events (NASCAR) $461 million, Spring Break $101 million and Black College Reunion $97 million (Soskin, 2001). Approximately three-quarters of visitors to motor racing events are repeat visitors to the city, having attended previous racing events. Over 60 percent travel to the city using their own mode of transportation.
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:24 AM
Social impact-Overall, residents appeared to be in strong agreement that tourism brings positive social benefits which they can enjoy (Table III). Specifically, these include items such as variety of entertainment available to residents (65 percent), interacting with visitors as a valuable experience (65 percent) and the variety of cultural experience that tourism provides (57 percent). Given this positive attitude, it is therefore no wonder that a majority (61 percent) indicated that they would be in favor of increased tourism development. The overall positive attitude towards the social impacts is not surprising and can be explained by social exchange theory which assumes that potential beneficial outcomes will create positive attitudes towards tourism (Jurowski and Gursoy, 2004).
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:28 AM
57 percent indicated that without tourism, the city would not be able to meet its financial obligations. Consequently, a majority of residents (59 percent) are willing to cope with the temporary inconveniences that tourism, particularly special events, may cause. Most residents (58 percent) also appeared to be comfortable with expanding commercial activities during special events to include vending on the city’s main streets.
JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Conclusions and implications This research has shed some light on the perceptions and attitudes of residents towards special event tourism. The results of the study indicate that local residents of the city generally have positive attitudes towards tourism. Despite the perception of some negative impacts of tourism, residents perceived the overall impacts as beneficial. Residents in the study area associated tourism with investment in the city, employment, variety of entertainment and cultural exchange. However, tourism is blamed for inflated real estate prices and increases in the cost of some consumer items. Residents also indicated that they believe event tourism can bring economic benefits, foster cultural exchange, and increase employment opportunities. Consequently, they are content to live with the negative consequences since they are outweighed by the positive benefits.
Travis August 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Jimmy good morning ,I've lived in Daytona and have a daughter that's does now one big differ-ace in what your talking about and what the county wants to do is, in FL almost all (if not all) of these events are funded with private money. I'm all for knocking down that old wreck of a building but. The question still lingers. If its such a great deal why doesn't Wang use his own money? We know he has it.
Louise August 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
I think we all suspect you did a lot of cutting and pasting to get your grammar and spelling right. Please note, however, that Daytona Speedway events are usually nationally sponsored and attract both local residents and tourists alike. The Islanders are mainly local and not meant to attract tourism. You're mixing apples and oranges. If you can't wait to leave, why are you beating a dead horse? You shouldn't care anymore. Long Island needs good people to work for a better Long Island. You are too angry to contribute anything positive. Leave already!
JIMMY August 14, 2011 at 12:39 AM
The center would also host concerts and a lot of other events, not just the ISLANDERS, and you must be a teacher , stuck up, or both to be so overly concerned with grammar in a stupid local news blog,didn't know I was being graded teach,lol. Your are missing the big picture here,your tax money is now paying for an empty building and wang was using a lot of his own money among other incentives that Nassau and long island could have benefited from ,well read the history I'm not here to educate you on the whole topic.
Louise August 14, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Nope, not a teacher. Just well educated and I care how I write. I'm not paying for an empty bldg. I live in Suffolk. I don't give a flying fig about where you or the Islanders end up. If you move to the middle of nowhere, it won't matter to you either. You can have the last word because this has become very boring. If all you can think about is the stadium, you really need a life.


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