Saturday, July 23, 2011

Push Humpty Dumpty Off The Wall

Memo to the folks who live on Nassau County and are unsure which way to vote on August 1; Say no and it will really cost you. Why not close your eyes and picture a future where:

The team's players, the coaching staff, the management just for starters gone elsewhere. Those same players, staff, and management who will live on Long Island, spending their money while renting places to live, buying food to eat and all those other essentials that is part of every day life.

Picture the people who work at the Nassau Coliseum during the 40+ days that there are Islander games taking tickets, selling concessions and merchandise or providing security. Say good bye to the income that they would have made working the Islander games, that income that they might have spent in stores in Nassau County POOF gone.

And one thing that is not being mentioned is as the Coliseum ages that the cost of upkeep rises as well. It is actually over time going to cost more to operate the Coliseum than if you would have built a new arena.

It is like the children's tale of Humpty Dumpty; as the more that arena breaks down then the more the "king's men" have to try to put Humpty Dumpty back together. Eventually they will not be able to.

We speak from experience as out here the home of the Portland Winterhawks, The Memorial Coliseum was opened in 1960 and the City of Portland keeps putting off badly needed repairs.

Nobody likes attending Winterhawk games at the MC no matter how historic that building is. It is the little things that push people out the door like bad bathrooms as well as the lack of choices when it comes to the concession stands.

In 1959 when they broke ground and built the place it cost 8 million but to built the same building using 2011 dollars it would be around 60 million. But the City of Portland just like on Nassau County keeps dinking around and not do anything to maintain the place.

It is almost a crystal ball predicting the future of the Islanders as the Winterhawks have rebuilt their franchise from top to bottom becoming one of the best teams in the WHL.

In 2013 the Winterhawk's lease will end and if the City of Portland does not wake up really soon then they just might find that the Winterhawks have moved. Some lucky other city is going to find themselves with a very good already built hockey team.

The Islanders with the talent they have coming up through their system are about a year or 2 behind the Winterhawks. A couple of good breaks and the Islanders are a playoff team in the 2011-2012 season.

Not going to say they are Stanley Cup contenders but making the playoffs is good first step. But if you want to keep saying no to a new arena then some other city is going to reap the rewards of what you said no to.

But if you vote "no" on August 1st then it is not going to keep your taxes down but quite the opposite as if the Islanders stay in that aging building then more and more of your tax dollar is going to be spent on the upkeep.

The Winterhawks had a great team but it was really hard for them to draw fans to the Memorial Coliseum because that place is a mess. It is going to be the same for the Islanders as the team gets better.

Oh sure if you want to say "let them leave and tear the NCMC down" then the sticker shocker you will see in your property tax bill is going to kick your butt. In fact get rid of that building and watch the prices of everyday living start to go up.

That lost revenue from not only the Islanders but all the events has to be made up somehow but since you voted no then it is only fitting that you get stuck with the bill.

Now do not take this as saying sure build them a new arena and give them a sweetheart lease. In fact quite the opposite as build them that new arena and let the users pay for it's operating expenses.

Nassau County is not Glendale in Arizona as get the Islanders a new arena to go along with this young rebuilding team and fans will come. The Portland Winterhawks as they progressed through the WHL playoffs saw their attendance rise with each passing game.

Once the Winterhawks were playing next door in the Rose Quarter then it was like a pleasure to attend games there. Winning does have that effect on attendance but in the case of pro sports one of the biggest selling points to free agents is the quality of the facilities.

Do the math as the more the Islanders win then the longer their season goes; the longer they use their arena during the season then the more revenue it is going to generate, the more income for people to be able to earn which in turn means the more they have to spend.

But of course vote no and when the Islanders are playing in the Barclay Center in Brooklyn or in Hamilton Ontario or any place but Nassau County then the folks who inherit the team will thank you for their enjoyment.

Will Someone Please Love This Kid?

The saga of Kirill Kabanov is starting to get down right silly especially all that has been happening to him is totally out of control.

You might want to get a pen and paper in order to keep up with things. Since the end of the QMJHL playoffs, Kirill Kabanov has seen his Lewiston Maineiacs fold and his rights selected by the Montreal Junior.

But the Junior found themselves sold to former Islander/Ranger/Rest of the NHL journeyman Joel Bouchard. Bouchard promptly relocated the franchise to Blainville-Boisbriand (in Quebec where Bouchard also runs a hockey academy and changed the name from Junior to the Armada.

Our friend Gregg Drinnan over at Taking Note told us that Pascal Vincent who was the General Manager/Coach of the team has resigned in order to become an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets.

So Kabanov has been on 3 teams since April and will once the Armada hire a replacement be on his 3rd coach as well. Anyone wish to wager that someone is going to find a way to blame Kabanov for all this.

(Islander logo courtesy of the New York Islanders)

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