“The answer to the Islanders moving is never… No chance that’s going to happen.”
Usually a quote like this isn’t worth dedicating a whole post to — or at least a lengthy one. Journalists, bloggers (this one included) and others weigh in all the time on the Islanders and whether or not they’ll be sold, moved, or kept in Nassau. Heck, the Canadian media has had the Islanders moving to Quebec for quite some time now. But the above quote is newsworthy because of the source it comes from. I’m not telling you to take it as fact or fiction — this situation isn’t going to get resolved soon and no one really knows anything certain either way — but take it for what it is. Take it as a quote from someone who is an AHL owner, a potential NHL owner and reportedly “in the NHL’s good graces.“
The quote comes from Chicago Wolves (AHL) owner Don Levin, who is supposedly the lead candidate to bring an NHL team to Seattle. The city of Seattle — probably the top American destination for NHL relocation or expansion — recently agreed with investor Chris Hansen to build a $490 million arena that could house both an NHL and NBA team. Hansen wouldn’t necessarily be the one to bring a team in, though. It could be Levin who finds a way to bring a team to Hansen’s building. Levin has been interested in bringing a team to Seattle for a little while now, with reports of him offering $100 million to the Seattle arena project, although it is unclear if he will end up footing any of the bill under this agreement. Nonetheless, he’s an interesting person and someone who might know a thing or two about NHL relocation and expansion. Here’s the quote in full:
“I can tell you there are not teams for sale that are available to move,” Levin told ESPN the Magazine on Wednesday.
Not the Coyotes? Or maybe one day the Islanders? “My understanding is that the Phoenix deal, [Greg Jamison] has come up with the money,” Levin said. “The answer to the Islanders moving is never. They’re not moving out of that market. No chance that’s going to happen.”
Instead, Levin’s plan centers on expansion. And he’s optimistic it won’t be long after the CBA is settled that the NHL will turn to expansion as the next phase in growing the league. “I would think three years,” he said.
Take it with a grain of salt, as with everything that comes up in regards to the Islanders and their arena situation, but remember that this isn’t coming from the media. It’s coming from someone who might know a thing or two. Why does Levin think the Islanders would assuredly stay? The interview from ESPN doesn’t go any further. The obvious answers would be the lucrative TV deal and the proximity to the biggest metro area in America. Whatever the reasoning, hopefully Levin’s right.