Saturday, January 17, 2009

Leaving Long Island? Maybe so for New York Islanders

I hardly write about hockey, but this one has an impact on the New York-area, which I tend to focus heavily on. The Islanders, who play in Long Island's Nassau Coliseum, will play a preseason game in Kansas City next season. Seems harmless on the surface, but there is more to the story.

Islanders owner Charles Wang wants a new arena, as part of his Town of Hempstead "Lighthouse Project." Kansas City recently built the Sprint Center, an NHL-ready arena, and the city has been trying to attract a hockey team to the area.

I think the move could be good for the Isles. Kansas City is a notoriously warm and gracious sports town and the Islanders wouldn't be competing with the Rangers anymore for the back pages.

It's a horrible move for Long Island. The Islanders are LI's only major pro sports team. If they leave the island will still have plenty of attractions like Jones Beach, the Hamptons, over-gelled hair and popped collars, but losing out on the revenue of a pro sports team will surely impact the area's economy.

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