The day was coming. We all knew it.
The Islanders moving to Brooklyn will bring to a close uncertainty about the club and also may rejuvenate the franchise going forward.
If owner Charles Wang is to be believed, the Islanders will no longer be the bottom basement feeder for the league, rather he will now invest into the club, building a winner, which will compete with their new next door neighbors, the New York Rangers on the long term.
That also means the Islanders will be investing into free agents, while getting ready to move after the 2014-15 season, it’s now time for the team to be built into a winner by spending on top talent, knowing the team will be pulling a profit when they finally move into Barclays Center.
And according to general manager Garth Snow, they will do it.
“We will continue to go after the top free agents,” he said and we will take him at his word, because the Islanders now have a future. No more rumors of Quebec City or Hartford, rather a new home the team and its fans can enjoy.
What makes this such a slam dunk is the location. The problem with the Coliseum was not the antiquity of the place, rather the lack of a Long Island Rail Road stop close by. Fans were forced to go home after work and then return to Uniondale to enjoy the game.
No more. Instead, many city commuters can go straight to Barclays Center after work and then return to the Island after the game. And those in Long Island can easily take the Long Island Rail Road into Brooklyn.
Outside of Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center is the most convenient sports location in the city.
Much like the Nets, the Islanders will also bank upon building a new fan base. The hope that Brooklynites will take to the team will help fill the 15,000 seat arena night in and night out.
But New Yorkers like a winner and the Islanders will still have empty seats if the team doesn’t build a winner on the ice. They have a nice core right now led by John Tavares and Matt Moulson, but as we have seen the last few years, the team needs a defense behind the young scorers.
And there is time for this to happen. The NHL is on a lockout and when it resumes, the Islanders should be in the forefront of the free agency market. They now can show state of the art facilities for games. Hopefully this moves also means a new practice facility as well, because Ice Works is totally out of date.
Finally, don’t shed a tear for the Coliseum. The building is out of date and Nassau County had a chance to build a new facility. They didn’t get it done.
Now it’s Brooklyn’s turn.
Starting in 2015.