The New York Islanders are facing the reported possibility of leaving Barclays Center in Brooklyn in the near future, and Hartford hasn’t been shy about wanting a hockey franchise back in town.
Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to the Islanders attempting to entice them to consider XL Center in downtown Hartford for their “interim use” and potentially as a “long-term solution” for the team if it needs to find a home.
XL Center is the home of the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack and was the home of the Hartford Whalers until 1997 when they relocated to Raleigh and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Among the selling points in Molloy and Bronin’s letter included the new ice floor at the arena as well as Hartford’s robust business community and population.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, however, doesn’t think the likelihood of the Islanders moving is very strong, as he explained during the NHL All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.
“Well, the owners are committed to the franchise. They’re committed to New York and the great fan base that has followed the Islanders,” Bettman said. “There are some issues about playing in Barclays. It may be fundamental to the system, and that’s not something that can be fixed in the short term. I think as is prudent Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are reviewing the situation and looking very seriously at what their options are.”
What do you think? Would you like to see the NHL return to Hartford?