Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Suffolk picks $1B Arena idea, Maybe the Isles will

Well Halle-frekin'-lujah.  Over a decade ago I kept asking "Why not build in Suffolk County, Mr. Wang?" Suffolk seemed perfect.  It had many parcels of available property that would have fit the needs of the Lighthouse project.  Transportation, ease of access and a favorable political environment.  But no.   Uniondale was where he wanted to be.

What was to be his legacy for his children is now just a once promising idea.  For Nassau County that is.  But here in Suffolk County the Ronkonkoma Hub project that has already broken ground seems eerily similar to me.  The apartment complexes, the retail space, the restaurant space, the parking garages each brought back memories of that multipage postcard we all got with the concepts of the project.  The only thing missing was that bubble of an arena and the much needed Sports Medical Arts building.  Well, not any more.

Across from that perfectly planned walking community will be exactly what was needed here in Suffolk;  an entertainment and convention venue partnered with a world-class sports medicine facility and jobs.  All within walking distance of a major LIRR station, along a bus route and at three exits of a major roadway.  Give me an adorable trolley as was once proposed by the Islanders organization, and this is Disney-esque to a T!

But the Islanders have NOTHING to do with this project according to Jim Baumbach from Newsday who says he is "in-the-know."  From my past experience with the organization I can say -- they never tell the whole truth because they themselves aren't even sure of the entire truth.  The truth is basically a moving target for them.

So maybe they will have a new home in Suffolk, maybe not.  Who knows.  If they continue to play the way they have been, they can put in an ECHL team and it will be just as successful.  Hell, put the Stony Brook SeaWolves in there.  That's fine.

The Islanders are the classic definition of insanity.  Continue to do the same thing believing there will be a different outcome.  Will John Tavares stay long enough to see ANY new arena built for them, wherever it may be?  Not sure.  But certainly the Islanders have done nothing for him in years other than grant him protection from a Canadian media spotlight and basketball in Charles Wang's driveway.

If John Tavares truly wants to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup, it is time for him to move on.  And speaking of moving on, Garth Snow can't possibly be happy with himself or his organization.  He has nothing to show for his tenure as GM other than mediocrity.  Time to find a new beginning for him as well.  But don't be surprised if things stay the way they are.  This is after all The Islanders.  No matter who "owns" them, they manage to always stay pretty much the same:  A work in progress.  Sort of like the Sistine Chapel.

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