Last night, Islanders GM Garth Snow joined Gary Harding on WGBB 1240 AM in New York for an interview. Snow was asked about the Islanders opening training camp in Brooklyn, and the Islanders GM mentioned that the team would take the train to the Barclays center on Thursday:
“We start the first day of main training camp at the Barclays Center, so that’s going to be an exciting day for sure. We’re gonna take the team on the Long Island Railroad and take the train right to Barclays. So it’s going to be a fun day Thursday when we hit the ice for the first time in the Barclays center, but on the flip side we recognize what a special place the Coliseum is…”
The Islanders will host the opening day of training camp at the Barclays Center on Thursday, and then return to the Coliseum and Iceworks for the rest of training camp.
Snow also commented on Andrew MacDonald, who is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season and is likely due a raise:
“I’ve had communication with his agent, we obviously would like to bring Andrew back… We have a player in Andrew who wants to be here and as a lot of these negotiations go, it just comes down to term and money. That will play itself out. It’s still, obviously, early in the process… He’s not a free agent until next summer and we realize how important he is to our team and we’ll try to get something done.”
The Islanders announced that as a precursor to training camp next week, there will be a rookie camp starting Friday
at the Coliseum. The kids will wrap up mini-camp on Tuesday, followed by team physicals on Wednesday and full-on training camp starting next Thursday in Brooklyn.
Rookie camp attendees are, but are not limited to: Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Kirill Kabanov, Anders Lee, Scott Mayfield, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Andrey Pedan, Ryan Pulock, Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Strome, and Johan Sundstrom.
Speaking of Brooklyn, a sort of weird thing happened with the Islanders website yesterday.
The team unveiled the marketing slogan for this season, “A Shift in Power”, and it looked suspiciously like the Brooklyn Nets website. It appears to be using the same font and there’s also a lot of black in the color scheme. This should’t be too surprising, given that the team’s marketing is now being run by the Nets — corporate synergy! — but of course there’s always the worry that the traditional orange and blue will be replaced by black and white. It doesn’t make sense to draw any serious conclusions from this, though.
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It’s only August, so most media outlets haven’t yet put together their pre-season predictions for the Islanders. It’s still really early. But as Lighthouse detailed earlier this week
, the Hockey News is out in front of everyone (because they have to actually print the darned thing? I’m not sure). They’ve got the Islanders pegged for fifth in the new
Metropolitan Division, which I guess is some respect as it’s more than the usual “none”. But it also puts them outside of the playoffs, as THN predicts only the top-three will get in to the dance.
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- New York Rangers
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- New York Islanders
- Washington Capitals
- Carolina Hurricanes
- New Jersey Devils
To my eye, it’s not a bad ranking. The Rangers could have an up year, they are only two years removed from a (regular season) Eastern Conference title, after all. Although how the hell do the Flyers make the playoffs after last season’s train wreck and the fact that they don’t have a goalie (and no, Ray Emery doesn’t count until proven otherwise)?
But this is the debate that makes the summer go by, so share your thoughts in the comments.
Beating this Coliseum thing into the ground…
Eyes on Isles made what I think is an excellent point about the Coliseum/Barclays point-counterpoint that has gone on lately (special thanks to Ed Mangano, Bruce Ratner, et al. for giving us stuff to talk and write about in August). And they did it in three paragraphs as opposed to the 2,000 words I used yesterday.
Arguments that the Islanders will one day return to Uniondale in all their glory—hypothetically to a sold-out arena complete with luxury boxes that aren’t in the current design specs, a possible on-site public transportation hub that will allow out-of-towners to easily come to games, and a completely redeveloped surrounding area with a mall and a minor-league baseball stadium—are mostly based on a series of “what-ifs.”
Sure, team owner Charles Wang could sell the team. Sure, the seating configuration at Barclays Center isn’t ideal for hockey and may impact the Islanders’ ability to draw fans. And sure, Ratner just won the Coliseum bid, which somehow means he’s automatically bringing the Isles back to Nassau County just as soon as he cuts the ribbon on a supposed shining star of an arena in the not-too-distant future.
But when an argument relies on such a combination of “what-ifs” and “hey, it could happens,” and “no, just hear me outs,” it’s an argument with little evidence to support itself.
The scenarios of the Islanders returning are not impossible, but the ones I’ve seen so far are not backed up with evidence or knowledge of how stadiums are built and how RFPs work.
ALSO: NYI National Hockey League of Nations from Yahoo/BD Gallof…
One of the arguments that’s cropped up since Bruce Ratner won the RFP on the Coliseum has been whether or not this paves the way for the Islanders to stay in Nassau County somehow, someway.
Ratner and Wang are business partners in Brooklyn, Mangano brought in Ratner to advise him on the Coliseum and ultimately chose him to re-imagine it. Surely, there’s got to be a way for all three to parlay this into the Islanders staying, right?
Well, not so fast. On Twitter, Chris Botta says the chances of that happening were long gone adding that Ratner didn’t lure the Islanders to Brooklyn only to let them go back to the suburbs away from the urban transportation hubs. Newsday’s Randi Marshall even talked to Ratner himself, who said that the Islanders will not move back to Nassau citing the remodeled venue as too small.
But there are still folks who believe the Islanders now have a path back. One of them is Tom Van Riper from Forbes, a place that should know a thing or two about business. Van Riper wrote on Friday that now that Ratner’s got the Coliseum, surely there’s a way to make the Islanders stick. That piece was given further credence — without additional substance mind you — by being reblogged at Puck Daddy.
So, can the Islanders stay at the Coliseum now that Ratner’s won the bid and seems to have a good relationship with both the County Executive Ed Mangano (up for reelection this year) and Islanders owner Charles Wang?
To believe that, we would have to overlook a few key points and also the basic logic of sports business in 2013.
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Marshall writes that lawyers hired by the county met with each group — MSG and Forest City — twice a week for the last month for up to 10-hours per day trying to get the best deal. It was basically negotiations between the three sides, with the County’s lawyers trying to extract everything they could:
County officials said they tried to focus both finalists in the final weeks on limiting the county’s expenses, particularly for utilities and maintenance, taking ownership and control of the arena as early as possible, and giving the county revenue even before a newly renovated arena opened.
They also attempted to suggest to both parties that they rethink decisions that were not as favorable to the county, Gowell said. Gowell, for instance, encouraged both finalists to consider committing to additional revenue payments before and during construction. Ratner agreed, while MSG ultimately did not, Gowell noted.
Forest City’s final deal did end with the company assuming all utility costs for the arena, which is a reduction in County expenses by a couple million.
One of the things I found very interesting about the deal was that, even despite the delays in announcing the winner, the decision was never leaked. Apparently even Bruce Ratner himself didn’t know until minutes before the press conference:
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The Sound Tigers have provided a statement to Point Blank on their tenure in Bridgeport, Connecticut following Bruce Ratner’s proclamation earlier today that the team will occupy the Coliseum when the Islanders head to Brooklyn:
“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here”
Charles Wang owns both the Islanders and Sound Tigers in addition to Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment, which manages the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Today in Mineola, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that the Forest City Ratner bid, headed by Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark, won the RFP to develop the Coliseum site.
Mangano said that the Forest City bid guaranteed the County $4 million in parking and ticket sales revenue each year, which was $1.4 million more than the MSG proposal. Newsday had reported earlier in the week that the winning developer promised the County a higher annual lease payment.
Point Blank detailed the Forest City’s proposal back in May, which you can view here.
Newsday is reporting that the Coliseum developer will be named on Wednesday morning at an 11:30am press conference. Per Newsday:
A review committee, composed of county officials, was expected to make its final recommendation to Mangano late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday, with an announcement coming at a news conference in Mineola Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., sources said. The review committee has been meeting since last weekend.
A second news conference is expected to be held Thursday at the Coliseum with the winning bidder. The two finalists, sources said, have not been informed about the county’s decision and are expected to find out Wednesday morning.
There’s no word yet on who the winner is, but in cash strapped Nassau County, it appears to be the highest bidder:
While officials would not disclose the identity of the winning bidder, sources said the decision came down to the amount of revenue that the developer will pay Nassau through an annual lease agreement.
Yesterday morning, Crain’s broke down the race for the Nassau Coliseum
between the Madison Square Garden/Rechler bid and the Forest City proposal. It’s a good read but doesn’t delve deeply into the bids; it focuses more on the people and businesses behind the bids.
One interesting note that is new from the article is that Scott Rechler doesn’t want to look at the Coliseum. So much so, that he re-designed his office in the RXR Plaza across Hempstead turnpike to face away from the arena. Rechler was once a partner on the Lighthouse Project, and now joins James Dolan and MSG’s bid to revamp the property. From Crain’s:
Despite their myriad differences, both contenders readily agree on one thing: The Coliseum is an eyesore. It is so bad, in fact, that Mr. Rechler, whose development company, RXR, is headquartered directly across Hempstead Turnpike from the arena, went to great lengths to avoid having to look at the thing. When he was moving into his office, he had the original plans ripped up so that his own office faced out the opposite side of the building. The switch added two months to the build-out process, but now it is the company’s cafeteria that has the view of the Coliseum.
“If we win, I might just be tempted to switch it back,” Mr. Rechler said.
A decision on which group will win the Coliseum bid is expected this month from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is expected to make a decision as to whom shall win the rights to renovating the Nassau Coliseum sometime this month. The list has been narrowed down to Madison Square Garden and Forest City’s bid, with Ed Blumenfeld joining up with the latter
Lately, both competitors have been in the news for the breaks they receive. A couple of weeks back, Madison Square Garden’s operating permit was given only a 10-year extension, which we mention because MSG gets a cool $15 million tax break — estimated to be $350 million total since 1982 — to continue doing exactly what it’s doing. And what it’s doing is “operating a successful business in midtown Manhattan.”
In yesterday’s news headlines is Forest City Enterprises, the parent company of Forest City Ratner, which has one-upped MSG with taking a supposed $2.6 billion — that’s billion with a B — in government subsidies over the last decade. The Post reports that part of that was gained due alleged kickbacks of campaign contributions, which the company has spent $23 million on in the last decade, $5 million in New York City alone, according to the report.
Newsday, sibling company of MSG as both are owned by Cablevision, helpfully highlights that Forest City is a Coliseum bidder in case you forgot and also notes that Forest City received “low-income housing tax credits for residential construction in Oakland.” It’s hard to see how ‘incentives for building low-income housing’ is as scandalous as political kickbacks and not more of a ‘thing municipalities do to bring good things to poorer areas’.
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