On Friday afternoon, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin wrote a letter to the New York Islanders owners encouraging them to consider moving the team to Hartford. The letter came just days after news broke that Barclays Center might be considering cutting ties with the New York Islanders. If Barclays Center ends the contract between the two sides, the Islanders would need a new home for the 2019-20 season. If the Islanders opt out of the agreement with Barclays Center, the team could need a new home as early as the 2018-19 season.
The letter suggested the Islanders consider Hartford and the XL Center as an option for both a temporary home arena as well as a long-term option.
“Recognizing that many issues will complicate your decision making, we would nonetheless like to offer Hartford’s XL Center as an option for your interim use. Of course, as we pursue the transformation of the building into today’s NHL standards, we would suggest the building as a long-term solution to your needs as well,” Malloy and Bronin said in the letter.
At the end of the letter, the upgrades to the XL Center’s ice floor as well as the new dasher boards that are in the process of being installed were mentioned, as well as the fact that the arena has been, and will continue to be, upgraded.
Malloy and Bronin also went on to point out that the club already has ties to Connecticut with its minor-league affiliate, the Sound Tigers, located in Bridgeport. The two also point out the proximity of Bridgeport to Hartford would allow for “quick and easy access to your minor-league players.” The proximity to Bridgeport would be a bonus because it would allow the Islanders to make emergency recalls slightly faster than they already can.
In response to the letter, the Islanders owners said, “The public letter that the Connecticut Governor’s office released earlier today was the first we had heard of the news … We are thrilled to be playing this season in front of our passionate New York Islanders fan base at Barclays Center, with the goal of making the playoffs. We look forward to another great year of New York Islanders hockey at Barclays Center next season.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also has insisted he sees a future for the Islanders in New York but not necessarily at the Barclays Center. The statements by both the team and Commissioner Bettman seem to decline the invitation for the Islanders to relocate to Hartford, however stranger things have happened in the sports world.
Jonathan Dupont is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.