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November 20, 2011

NESN Broadcast Crew Says Long Island Isn't A Hockey Market

After reading  Lighthouse hockey's recap of last night's debacle I found out that the Bruins Broadcast crew add one more insult for Islander fans.
  One last note:  To the always professional broadcast team at NESN, who stated to the country that the Islanders should be moved from the New York area, that Long Island isn't a hockey town, and that the Isles probably only have two fans watching- Stop by this site sometime and say hello.  I'm sure the TWO fans the Islanders have, that stop by here daily to discuss their favorite team, have a thing or two they'd like to discuss with you.  Keep it classy, Boston.

Long Island is a hockey market.  Tell me another fan base that has withstood the torment Islander fans have.  We have stood by our team after eighteen seasons without a playoff series win, an owner who was a fraud, owners who destroyed the talent base once they couldn't get an arena, Mike Milbury and his terrible trades, and much more.  Islander fans are waiting for a reason to embrace this team again and sadly it doesn't look like it will happen this season.  Enjoy your fair weather fans Bruins, because once you start losing again your arena will be empty like it was during your last down turn.  Next time Boston is in town let's show NESN and Boston what type of hockey market Long Island really is.   


  1. Danbury Islesfan,

    I appreciate the effort and spirit behind the concept for your site. I wish you had started this site 2 or 3 years earlier before Chuck Wang let things deteriorate to the point where it is almost a foregone conclusion the Islanders will, indeed, leave the NY market. I believe it's almost entirely in the bag at this point, and can see nothing, especially coming out of NY State, which would indicate otherwise.

    Just to support my position, I will point to Chuck Wang's disinvesting (or the more traditional "divesting", if you prefer) himself of the team - literally paying just enough year in and year out on hockey operations staff and roster to squeak by in the current collective bargaining agreement.

    The will point to Chuck Wang's business profile transitioning (quite a few years back) from CA to real estate (see Renaissance Properties, Old Bethpage). His real estate ventures have been ill timed and unsuccessful, by-and-large, but that's neither here nor there, well, except for where the Islanders franchise is concerned.

    Wang's basically held the franchise hostage to try one-way and the other to develop the land. Before Suozzi was voted out, he gave Wang a sweetheart sub-lease, which runs to the end of the current lease agreement in 2015. Wang has been getting revenues from tickets, concessions, parking, and some merchandising from ALL EVENTS at the NVMC.

    As for Gary Bettman, his lip service means little, and his penchant for extolling Wang is an ominous sign for the Islanders' future. Remember, Bettman is the same man, when talking about the NY hockey market, soon after taking over for Gil Stein that the NY hockey market is supersaturated with teams. I believe he was too green to conceal such views then, but he is not green anymore, unfortunately.

    Bottom line, I don't know what has to happen to keep the Islanders on Long Island, geographically, but I fear that ship has sailed and is heading up north, when Wang does finally sell in the coming years. I think that people inside NHL circles know it, and I think the NESN comments are indicative of just that.

    Nobody is going to just come out and say years before it happens, "HEY NEW YORK ISLANDER FANS, YOU GUYS ARE TOTALLY FUCKED!!!" It's just not going to happen. So one must read in between the lines a bit, and it's not hard to see that rooting for this team is a complete waste of time.

  2. I will never say that rooting for the team I love is a waste of my time. I bleed Blue and Orange and I guess black now with their new jersey. Yes it is painful and frustrating to be a fan at this point and time, but never a waste of my time. If you read my post from today you can see why I don't think we are leaving the market.

  3. Part 1- I am replying here in this thread, so that it won’t appear I’m just trolling, as you seem like a nice enough guy and I appreciate the spirit behind your web-blog.

    Listen, it appears to me after analyzing and assessing where you are coming from that nothing short of me telling you that I know Chuck Wang, personally, will change your mind, as it relates to the future of the Islanders’ organization, as far as future ownership and locale.

    Frankly, I hope your view is correct. I don’t want the Islanders to move. I don’t want them to suck until they move, either, and one thing is in your favor: I don’t know Wang, personally.

    Therefore, my reply is not intended to change your mind, but just to impart information of which you may or may not be aware. I am only inclined to do this since I am sincerely hoping you do not have a professionally related ulterior motive.

    For the aforementioned reason, I will get to the crux of the issue first. You appear to be staking your hopes of the NYI staying on another local owner swooping in the next year or two to save the day. You also appear to be hoping Bettman’s words about “exhausting every possible option before relocation” under oath would be applicable in every situation, not just the Phoenix, which was the context underneath those words.

    Let me start with the latter. First, “exhaustion of every possible option” as a legal term is VERY opaque. It is a legally frivolous statement, which can be easily manipulated. If you think for one hot second that the Barclay’s Center, which is NOT BUILT for ice hockey has any chance of stopping the Isles from becoming the Nordiques or whatever have you, then you are VERY likely mistaken.

    Being a teacher, you should also understand historical precedent. Before the Jets moved back, perhaps you could have asked the Province of Winnipeg’s government and citizenry, if they thought Bettman “exhausted every option before relocation” – same goes for Quebec, Hartford, and Minnesota (before they received a team again). Now, you could argue, fallaciously, that Bettman authorized the relocation of those teams before this statement in Phoenix under oath; however, that leaves Atlanta!

    I am not saying Atlanta deserves a team, but I’d bet dollars to donuts, city government officials and a small, vocal minority of citizens could, correctly, tell you not EVERY option had been exhausted. IT IS TOTALLY QUALITATIVE AND SUBJECTIVE! Which is why from a legal point of view, Bettman’s statement means virtually nothing or could mean anything. It is because he is a lawyer, himself, and knows how to speak in mutable language.

  4. Part 2 - Now, then I will get to these two owners. Oy vey! The first guy, Repole, is a white-collar cowboy looking to make a name for himself by crowing to the business press – NOT a good sign (for his character nor for his being serious about owning the Islanders, which would be an undertaking to say the least). I know Bettman approves about anyone, but I believe it would be a hard sell to the other 29 owners.

    The second guy in the rumor mill, Nelson Peltz would be a phenomenonal choice for an owner, but this rumor was reported and ended back in December of 2010, which as you know, was a completely different climate regarding this franchise since Wang and the county were still aiming for the August vote for public funding (before it was completely, utterly botched). It was also one year ago in terms of the current lease/sub-lease agreement, which Wang has publicly admitted he is using a bargaining chip (stupid is as stupid does), being set to expire.

    However, the main point of contention I have with even bothering to look for local candidates for ownership is the infinitesimal likelihood of it happening.

    First, Wang has everything to lose by selling at this point in time, and as much as he couldn’t give two wet, smelly craps about ice hockey, he IS a businessman – no question. He paid $187 million to purchase the franchise and Forbes, when accounting for how Wang reports his TV earning, reports that the franchise has lost roughly 4 to 5 million a year. Wang has owned the team since 2000, so we can safely estimate altogether that he has pumped about 240 million or so into the team, and would want to at very least recoup that money, when selling. Wang cannot do that, if selling this team to a local ownership group at this point – it’s that simple. Wang’s team is worth approximately $152 million, which is 35 mill less than he paid for it. He is not selling unless he dies first (his estate would probably sell, I’m guessing). NOT saying that is a good idea, but I’m just analyzing the facts.

    However, if and when Wang sells to a Quebec business conglomerate with a brand-new state of the art facility built just for when Wang’s lease expires, their cut of CBC, RDS monies, possibly their own regional Francophone network, and with the league’s blessing, Wang will get his beaucoup bucks, believe me!

    In closing, I hope, if my conclusion is correct, that you and I are able to find a way to fill the void. I am already in a “termination phase” if you will with this organization, and as a fellow human, I don’t want people to feel existential angst over what is essentially a component in an oligarchy of 30 colluding businesses.

  5. All of your points are fair and valid, and I am sure Wang is talking to everyone at this time and looking at all his options. I fully agree that selling the team at this point and time does not make sense business sense for Wang. What my hopes hinge on is that Wang is truthful (I know scary thought) when he says that he doesn't want to be known as the man who moved the Islanders and that he is committed to Long Island. The second thing that I hinge my hope on is that Brooklyn can become a profitable situation for him. I explain how that can be the case in this post:

    I am very aware that the the chance that my heart is going be broken is real, but I holdout hope that a local solution can be found. In my mind it is Brooklyn or bust. I wish that Wang was willing to deal with them a few years ago right after the lighthouse was killed, so the arena would be more conducive for hockey, but beggars can't be choosers. Like you said unless Wang told me himself that the team is dead I will holdout hope.