On Monday the residents of Nassau County, New York voted down an opportunity to help the New York Islanders build a new home. The Islanders, who currently play at Nassau Coliseum, were hoping the residents would support the $400 million dollar referendum and they could begin play when their current lease expires in 2015.
I'll come right out and say it. This is the end of the New York Islanders and it's about time. Sure they won four Stanley Cups in the 80's but since then Islanders have been one of the biggest jokes in hockey. It's not the fault of ownership, they love the team and have spent money. Unfortunately, the money has gone to waste (see Rick DiPietro and Alexi Yashin) on players and in turn we have seen a lack of success on the ice.
In a division with the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New Jersey Devils, the Islanders have struggled. The Isle last made the playoffs in the 2006-2007 season when they snuck into the 8th spot, edging out the Toronto Maple Leafs by a point. Since then they have finished last in the Atlantic Division every year and have not finished better than 13th in the Eastern Conference. The 06-07 season also marked the last time the Islanders reached 40 wins and have not broken 35 wins since 2007-2008. The lowest point came during the 2008-2009 season when they recorded 26 victories.
A team with a rich history now must looks towards the future. They have a franchise player in John Tavares, he's been one of the few bright spots in recent years. Now it's time to move the team to a new city and give them a fresh start. In light of the recent Atlanta move to Winnipeg, here are a few options for the Islanders come 2015-2016 season:
- Quebec: It seems the NHL is now giving cities a second chance so why not Quebec. The taxes are not ideal for the players but it's a hockey passionate city and with the salary cap it could be competitive this time around. They need a new arena to make it happen but it's still an option.
- Hartford: Bring back the Whalers? It's unlikely. Insurance companies are moving out of the city so money won't be spent the way it needs to be. Not to mention they sell more apparel for this team now that it's vintage than they will if they come back.
- Seattle: They love their sports in the Pacific Northwest so it could be a good fit. Not far from Vancouver or the California teams would make travel easier and it's near the technology industries so money exists. If the current owners keep control this is not likely to happen but it would be nice to see.
- Kansas City: They have baseball and football but nothing to do from January to April, why not hockey? Located in the midwest they are accessible to every team but it becomes a matter of having the fan base to support another franchise. It could happen but it's not likely.
- Columbus, Ohio: Just kidding.
Who knows where the Islanders will end up in the future but this is a pretty clear sign the people in Nassau County are no longer interested. If it's possible, the team should consider breaking the lease but in the meantime it will be fun to speculate where the Islanders will be moving in 2015.
It's up to you, if you could move the team, where would you move them to? Leave a comment!