Islanders Fans, Like it or Not, Barclays Center is Home

The early word is the New York Islanders fans are not happy with their new home the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. There are a number of reasons for the initial frustrations. Everyone knew there was more than a few too many obstructed view seats. The early returns are those seats are more challenging than anticipated. It’s a much rougher commute for Islanders fans going from Long Island to Brooklyn. Not just in distance, but now how fans have to rely on mass transit (for most) rather than the comfort of their cars. There was also drama around the goal horn. The goal horn, really?

All Islanders fans already knew there was a big set of adjustments coming, moving from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Now however, reality has set in.

Remember Islanders Fans’ Next Option was Quebec or Kansas City

I totally understand where the Islanders fans are coming from, but they have to keep things in perspective. Fans of the orange and blue have to look at the forest, not the trees. We can all agree the No. 1 option was to get a new state-of-the-art arena built on Long Island. That did not happen, so the best remaining option was the Islanders stay in the local area. That was accomplished with their move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. State-of-the-art buildings do not grow on trees. There is a lot involved in terms of everything coming together and these arenas getting the go-ahead to get built. It starts with money, but there are many other complicated issues to navigate through. This was shown by the fact it could not get done on Long Island. As much as I believe fans of the team have a right to be upset, all Islanders faithful must also realize that if it was not for the Barclays Center, the team would be in Quebec or Kansas City right now. That is a very important point to remember. So while you’re kicking and screaming about moving to Brooklyn, keep in mind if it wasn’t for the Barclays Center there would not be a hockey team in the NHL called the New York Islanders.

Fans are Still Angry

Islanders fans are still angry and I get it. It’s going to take some time  for the fan base to adjust with the team’s new address. Playing arm-chair psychologist, the Islanders fans are dealing with an issue that is affecting their sports psyche. Long Islanders now have to deal with the fact that Long Island no longer has a sports franchise. The Coliseum, while it was no palace, was a place many Islanders fans went to when they were growing up and went to games with their families and friends. It was a place where dads took their kids. All the convenience issues aside, those are very big factors, psychologically, that fans of the team are now dealing with. They knew this day was coming, but now it’s here.

Then there is anger towards the local political officials that were unable to keep the team on Long Island. Islanders owner Charles Wang wanted to keep the team on the island in the worst way. I do not know this for a fact, but if I was a betting man, I feel confident in saying that Mr. Wang received far more lucrative offers from cities outside the local area.

One of the reasons we become sports fans is because it’s an escape. The emotional ties we have to our teams make no sense what so ever. But those ties are there and they are strong. For Islanders fans, the daily frustrations, unfairness and everyday struggles one deals with high-jacked their hockey team. When you have an owner who wants to keep the team on Long Island, how is it the people running the community do not get the job done? How is it that everyone did not go into a locked room with the coffee and sandwiches at the ready and no one leaves the room until a deal gets done?  Especially when the Islanders are very important to Long Island in so many different ways. Just like these days on any major issue in Washington, not only did nothing get done, but what did our leaders do to try and get this solved? It feels like very little was done by our local leaders other than pointing fingers. Now to boot, one of those key figures is on the ballot box come Election day. On a scale of 1 to 10, the frustration level for fans of the team comes in at 25. It’s beyond comprehension that nothing got done or, worst yet, that a valid attempt was made. There is a lot of anger that goes with these set of facts and it’s going to take some time to bury that anger.

My advice to my fellow Islanders fans is to continue to enjoy your team. There are a lot of growing pains ahead for the fan base, but my words of wisdom is  to think of the alternative.

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