On Monday, voters in Nassau County will be asked to approve a $400 million bond issue to build a new 17,000-seat arena for the Islanders. Its chances are at best slim. That's leading to speculation that if the vote fails, the Islanders could pack up their four Stanley Cups and move to Brooklyn, where there are plans for a hockey pad.
But the NHL is highly unlikely to approve a move. Barclays Center, since being downsized in 2009, can handle 14,500 for hockey (with bad sight lines), 2,000 fewer than Nassau Coliseum, the smallest NHL arena. Moreover, officials of Forest City Ratner have publicly and recently said they deliberately abandoned the idea of an NHL tenant when they downsized arena plans to get Barclays Center financed.
"We made some pretty deliberate decisions early on: we weren't going to have a [professional] hockey team," said Bob Sanna, FCR's vice president for construction, in April. The arena is being fitted for college hockey and ice shows.
As for other speculation that Mikhail Prokhorov might buy the Islanders, his spokesperson has repeatedly dismissed the idea that he would buy another professional sports team until the Nets succeed. Specifically, he was offered and turned down a stake in the Devils last year.
- Vote for Coliseum is vote to spend your cash - Larry Brooks - New York Post
- Would the Islanders Really Leave? - Tom Van Riper - Forbes
- For Islanders, Economic Reality Makes New Arena a Hard Sell - George Vecsey - New York Times
Future of the Islanders hangs in the balance of Aug. 1 vote - Sean Leahy - Yahoo! Sports