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For Isles Fans, Another Devastating Loss

Nassau residents deliver more heartbreak for a once-proud franchise.

The New York Islanders won't be put on ice today. In 2015? That may be another story.

After nearly two decades of fits and starts, and multiple threats to relocate the team, the downtrodden National Hockey League franchise suffered their latest calamity in their never-ending quest to build that elusive state-of-the-art arena.

that would've let Nassau County borrow to help build a new rink for the team that once made Long Island the center of the hockey universe.

Those years, when Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Billy Smith owned hockey, and when Denis Potvin, Tomas Jonsson and Bobby Nystrom were hoarding Stanley Cup championships, seem like a lifetime ago.

From 1980-83, no one beat the Islanders when it mattered. And unless you were one of the lucky or connected ones, a ticket to see the Islanders was difficult to get. Much easier? Predicting a May parade on Hempstead Turnpike.

For four seasons that's exactly what Long Island got, winning their last Stanley Cup in 1983 with a tidy four-game sweep of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the rest of the favored Edmonton Oilers.

A year later, the Isles would lose to the Oilers in the finals. They haven't been back. In fact, they haven't won a playoff series since 1993. For 18 years, the Isles have been on the short end of the stick, though few defeats have left fans as cold as tonight's loss on a warm August night.

These days, the team has played near the bottom of the standings, both on and off the ice, where attendance has sagged. Two decades of losing will do that. Last season the Isles drew 453,456 fans, dead last in the NHL. On average, 11,059 fans went to each game, more than 1,000 per game behind the second-worst average, set in Phoenix.

In comparison, the New Jersey Devils, who also play in the shadows of New York City, brought in 605,803 fans, or 14,775 per game. Unlike the Islanders the Devils have had success in recent years, winning three Stanley Cups since 1995. New Jersey didn't have Mike Milbury nonsensically trading away future all-stars. Their owner also never signed an unproven goalie to a 15-year-long deal.

Oh, and the Devils have a new arena, the Prudential Center, which opened in 2007. The Newark, N.J.-based building boasts being the third-highest grossing arena in the country.

A new arena on Long Island could be just as successful, contend County Executive Ed Mangano and Isles owner Charles Wang. It could bring in the big-name performers who generally skip right past the 18th largest market in the United States.

The increased attendance would, of course, fill county coffers and ring cash registers at nearby bars and restaurants, where  the team's relocation.

But county taxpayers made it clear that the Drive for Five, and the increased business, won't be built on their backs.

Tonight, Mangano lost. Like on too many other nights, the Islanders lost too.

Wang said he's "heartbroken."

It's a feeling Islanders fans know all too well.

JIMMY August 13, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Conclusions and implications This research has shed some light on the perceptions and attitudes of residents towards special event tourism. The results of the study indicate that local residents of the city generally have positive attitudes towards tourism. Despite the perception of some negative impacts of tourism, residents perceived the overall impacts as beneficial. Residents in the study area associated tourism with investment in the city, employment, variety of entertainment and cultural exchange. However, tourism is blamed for inflated real estate prices and increases in the cost of some consumer items. Residents also indicated that they believe event tourism can bring economic benefits, foster cultural exchange, and increase employment opportunities. Consequently, they are content to live with the negative consequences since they are outweighed by the positive benefits.
Travis August 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Jimmy good morning ,I've lived in Daytona and have a daughter that's does now one big differ-ace in what your talking about and what the county wants to do is, in FL almost all (if not all) of these events are funded with private money. I'm all for knocking down that old wreck of a building but. The question still lingers. If its such a great deal why doesn't Wang use his own money? We know he has it.
Louise August 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
I think we all suspect you did a lot of cutting and pasting to get your grammar and spelling right. Please note, however, that Daytona Speedway events are usually nationally sponsored and attract both local residents and tourists alike. The Islanders are mainly local and not meant to attract tourism. You're mixing apples and oranges. If you can't wait to leave, why are you beating a dead horse? You shouldn't care anymore. Long Island needs good people to work for a better Long Island. You are too angry to contribute anything positive. Leave already!
JIMMY August 14, 2011 at 12:39 AM
The center would also host concerts and a lot of other events, not just the ISLANDERS, and you must be a teacher , stuck up, or both to be so overly concerned with grammar in a stupid local news blog,didn't know I was being graded teach,lol. Your are missing the big picture here,your tax money is now paying for an empty building and wang was using a lot of his own money among other incentives that Nassau and long island could have benefited from ,well read the history I'm not here to educate you on the whole topic.
Louise August 14, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Nope, not a teacher. Just well educated and I care how I write. I'm not paying for an empty bldg. I live in Suffolk. I don't give a flying fig about where you or the Islanders end up. If you move to the middle of nowhere, it won't matter to you either. You can have the last word because this has become very boring. If all you can think about is the stadium, you really need a life.

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