Bring back the Islanders.
Bring. Them. Back.
The move would bolster Long Island pride, and boost the fortunes of Nassau Coliseum — which still lacks an anchor tenant — and the business and residential community surrounding the renovated arena.
Bringing the team back to Nassau from Brooklyn was among suggestions to address a variety of regional challenges put to Long Islanders in a recent Siena College Research Institute poll of 703 registered voters conducted on behalf of the Long Island Association.
Bringing them back came in 7th out of 14.
Number one was having special district elections all on one day. Then came support for offshore wind farms; a permanent property tax cap; electrifying the Long Island Rail Road out to Port Jefferson; an income tax (rather than property tax) to fund schools; and building affordable apartments in downtown areas.
Digging into the guts of the poll, support for the Islanders’ return cut across county lines, gender, political party affiliation, education, income and homeownership.
Islander owner Jonathan Ledecky — who co-owns the team with Scott Malkin — met with County Executive Edward Mangano in November at Mangano’s request to discuss a possible return.
Meanwhile, sources tell Newsday that officials at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders have played the past two seasons, are encouraging the team’s going back to Nassau — in part, to prevent construction of another arena that would compete for shows and concerts at the renovated Coliseum.
According to other news reports, officials at Barclays also believe that facility could make more money hosting concerts and events other than Islander games, which have been lacking in attendance.
All of which means there’s an opening for negotiation — bolstered by a region longing to get its last major sports franchise back.
Elected officials in Nassau are doing whatever they can to make possible a return. That includes Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino, who as a town council member supported former Supervisor Kate Murray’s objections to development in the Coliseum area.
Santino, in fact, was on sports radio Wednesday making his pitch. In addition, Nassau County Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), who just received her party’s nod to run for county executive, backs bringing the team back too. It’s a bipartisan movement — which, in Nassau, is rare.
Even some state politicians are getting into the act. Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) chimed in with a statement Wednesday: “I, along with my Assembly colleagues from Long Island, am willing to work with the league and team ownership to rebuild what has been a wonderful partnership in the past.”
“I look fondly upon the past memories I’ve shared with my family watching our hometown New York Islanders, and hope we can work together to make new memories in the future.”
A lot of Long Islanders would like to think so, too.
So enough with the promises, and get cracking.
Bring the Islanders home.