Attention Winnipeg & Kansas City: Islanders Fan Base Exists, Thank You Very Much

 

This picture taken from Newsday.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Islanders aren’t treated well now. They’re considered a laughingstock by some, a circus by others. But know this: They’re the next Chicago Blackhawks. There’s a mountain of buoyant nostalgia under this team and it’s going to erupt like Vesuvius when this team is back in playoff contention. Count on it.” -Greg Wyshinski, Yahoo! Sports

 

Over the past few years, there has been a growing sentiment of people who believe that, for all intents and purposes, the New York Islanders hockey franchise is dead.

With all of the talk about relocation, the Islanders naturally became of interest to those in Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec City, Kansas City and any other metropolis with hopes of luring a professional team.

Some even went as far as staging a live demonstration as to why the Isles would do well in their hometown. Earlier this season, a large group of former Quebec Nordiques rooters came to Nassau Coliseum to show the team how well they’d be treated north of the border.

Surely the Islanders would be smart to move to Quebec City, considering there’s absolutely nothing left for them in their current location. After all, the Isles have no money, no fans and no future, right?

Wrong, on all accounts.

This team has a future and it’s a bright one.

John Tavares, Michael Grabner and Nino Niederreiter are developing nicely, as are other cogs of this rebuild. With a top-five selection in the upcoming draft, Garth Snow is likely to add yet another key piece, probably on defense. The Islanders are becoming the kind of team people pay to see.

And by people, I mean the fans and supporters of this great hockey team.

The current economic crisis has made it difficult for many Long Island residents. In these situations, it’s only natural that when you have a choice between saving money to support a family or spending that hard-earned cash on season tickets, you’re far more likely to choose the former and not the latter.

Couple that with the reality that, for quite a while, the Islanders were not what you’d call a “compelling” on-ice production, and you can see why fans weren’t exactly showing up in droves to the Nassau Coliseum box office.

Things have changed now, and for the better. The team’s drastic improvement since the All-Star break has led to a renewed sense of optimism and electricity in Islander Country.

Around 13,000-plus fans have been in attendance for most Islander home games since that time and, while that may not initially impress you, consider that this team was drawing approximately 8,000 fans per game during the last few seasons.

Earlier today, the team announced that Friday night’s rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins is sold-out. That contest will mark the Isles’ third-consecutive sellout at Nassau Coliseum.

Additionally, the Islanders are lowering prices and offering many incentives to prospective season ticket holders. The fans are responding favorably, so you can expect this upward trend to continue next season. The team is getting better and Isles fans are taking notice.

 

Indeed, Vesuvius is on the verge of an eruption. It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the hockey world starts feeling the tremors.

 

Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @dfriedman_isles

 

Comments are welcome.

 

Daniel Friedman
I'm a columnist for the New York Islanders on The Hockey Writers. I hail from West Hempstead, NY, I'm a Senior at Queens College and work at NBC Sports Network. Follow me on Twitter @DFriedmanNHL

14 Comments

  1. nyifancentral says:

    Thanks for the kind words….

    Nothing but the coverage of the New York Islanders will ever be second rate and that’s because of the spin by some writers aka fans of other teams with their own agendas and who owns the tv/newspaper rights.

    As for the rest Wang is not out issuing ultimatums, he’s not going to do this in the media and he’s right because the focus must be on hockey always. Wang and or Rechler are not going to do updates.

    Mangano spoke this week, that’s relevant information his last option is taxpayers vote to pay 400m for a new building so he does not get blamed. We don’t know where Wang stands with that. Also for Wang he is all in on that property for good, he bought the hotel next to the Coliseum and even bought out Rechler’s share of it and paid 90m.

    He cannot move a 90m dollar hotel and if the Coliseum is gone without a renovation his hotel is worthless.

  2. While I agree with what you say about the fact that we aren’t the ones who are making the internal decisions, that does NOT mean we can’t be proactive as a fanbase. If we showed Kate Murray that we can pack the Coliseum from the rink to the rafters every game, the message will become quite apparent. @nyifancentral

  3. savetheIslander says:

    @nyifancentral I realize that life isn’t fair, or that this isn’t reality television, but the truth is the clock is ticking. The Coliseum is old, and Wang/Rechler isn’t renovating it. If they do, it would be a huge sigh of relief for fans, and tax-payers because if the team does move away from the Hempstead area, property taxes will have to go up to cover the losses of the revenue coming from the Coliseum. Though the Islanders don’t outright own the Coliseum, without them there the days will be numbered for the place.

    I’m on your side here, I just want to know what has to be done in order to ASSURE the future of the team remains on the Island, and nowhere else. Somehow I don’t feel secure enough, and neither do a lot of other fans out there who are also concerned with the future of the team.

    It would be great to know what is going to happen, and any information would be highly appreciated because in reality to me enough is enough, and I don’t like it when something I love is considered second rate. I was a former Marine, I fight for what I love, and I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the future of this team is here where it belongs.

    I read the posts on your page, and posted those comments to my blog, which so far has no bloggers, but hey eventually someone might be looking for the same thing. Information is key.

  4. There’s also the possibility the team could (not that they necessarily would) move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I think they will stay in New York, if only because it’s NY, which is one of the largest sports markets worldwide. @nyifancentral

  5. nyifancentral says:

    Sorry but life does not work that way where fan bases get assurances, or can demand enough is enough like we are entitled to answers regarding internal negotiations, this is not reality television. Magano gave his speech last week and said Casino with new Coliseum or a taxpayer referendum for a new Coliseum at 400m or the LH project via Kate Murray scaledown which is not economically viable for Wang-Rechler by their words.

    Wang is running the Coliseum events, is about to buy the Sound Tigers arena and that lease runs until 2021.

    The New York Islanders will remain New York’s team.

  6. savetheIslander says:

    What I want to know is what the future is for this team already! Enough is enough, if they don’t get something done on the coliseum, and Wang/Reckler isn’t willing to negotiate, it doesn’t matter how many fans there are unless something happens to get this team to stay on the Island. I don’t want to see them leave, but I also want some assurance that they will stay here, on Long Island and remain as Islanders.

  7. nyifancentral says:

    The Rangers and Knicks were leaving in the early 80′s until NYC gave them a permanent tax exemption. My point in bringing up other local teams is media (Dolan owned) spin aside all three play in front of thousands of empty seats and have many of the same problems.

    The New York Islanders are also well hidden by Dolan controlled media in Newsday and on Msg+2.

    Also the New York Islanders are a New York team the same as the Yankees and far more than the NJ football teams that call themselves New York.

    The New York Islanders are as compelling as any other local hockey team, if you don’t beleive media on television and newspaper’s can hold down a teams perception/attendance you have not been following closely enough.

    Especially in a market dominating year round by baseball.

    Thank You

  8. nyifancentral says:

    The Rangers and Knicks were leaving in the early 80′s until NYC gave them a permanent tax exemption. My point in bringing up other local teams is media (Dolan owned) spin aside all three play in front of thousands of empty seats and have many of the same problems.

    The New York Islanders are also well hidden by Dolan controlled media in Newsday and on Msg+2.

    Also the New York Islanders are a New York team the same as the Yankees and far more than the NJ football teams that call themselves New York.

    The New York Islanders are as compelling as any other local hockey team, if you don’t beleive media on television and newspaper’s can hold down a teams perception/attendance you have not been following closely enough.

    Especially in a market dominating year round by baseball.

    Thank You

  9. The example was brought in to highlight a key point, that is it’s significance here. This article is about the New York Islanders, not about other teams, so I do not feel the need to cite the latest invasion. The Isles and those other teams aren’t even comparable situations. The Rangers are never moving, Devils are unlikely to do so as well. Islanders meanwhile, have an arena lease that ends in 2015, relocation is more of a possibility for them than for the teams you listed. @nyifancentral

  10. The example was brought in to highlight a key point, that is it’s significance here. This article is about the New York Islanders, not about other teams, so I do not feel the need to cite the latest invasion. The Isles and those other teams aren’t even comparable situations. The Rangers are never moving, Devils are unlikely to do so as well. Islanders meanwhile, have an arena lease that ends in 2015, relocation is more of a possibility for them than for the teams you listed. @nyifancentral

  11. Because this article is not about the Devils, Rangers, Bruins or Thrashers. @nyifancentral

  12. Because this article is not about the Devils, Rangers, Bruins or Thrashers. @nyifancentral

  13. nyifancentral says:

    Mr Frideman, how come you did not note the latest Quebec Invasion this time in New Jersey this coming weekend against Boston with even more bus loads than what came to Coliseum in December.

    I addition, I contacted this group a week and a half ago and there were thousands of available of seats for Thursday Rangers-Atlanta game the same group was considering doing the same thing (they are going to gather outside Bettman’s office) but because of it being a weeknight the Dolan’s were spared.

  14. nyifancentral says:

    Mr Frideman, how come you did not note the latest Quebec Invasion this time in New Jersey this coming weekend against Boston with even more bus loads than what came to Coliseum in December.

    I addition, I contacted this group a week and a half ago and there were thousands of available of seats for Thursday Rangers-Atlanta game the same group was considering doing the same thing (they are going to gather outside Bettman’s office) but because of it being a weeknight the Dolan’s were spared.

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