Nothing lasts forever. If you’re a sports fan, especially a hockey fan in CT, you know that better than most. Whether it’s because Robert Kraft using CT as leverage to get a new stadium built for the Patriots, watching baseball leave New Haven, losing the Hartford Whalers and then later the New Haven Coliseum along with it’s hockey teams, the wounds still sting from time to time. Now another one may bite the dust.
The New York Islanders are moving out of the Nassau Coliseum and going to Brooklyn, NY. Remember that the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are their farm team. The AHL (Bridgeport’s league) is moving a bunch of teams around on the West Coast and who knows what they’ll do in the East. Many are speculating that the Sound Tigers will move to Long Island to fill the soon to be vacant Nassau Coliseum. Remember these are just rumors, but too many of the right pieces seem to be in place if a move is going to be made. Or are they?
At a quick glance it seems like a no-brainer, move the Sound Tigers to an area with a fan base that’s already NHL sized and they’ll do well financially, but it leaves me with a big question. What will occupy the Webster Bank Arena? The Hartford Wolfpack have agreed to stay in the XL Center through next season, which is supposedly being renovated and modernized, and they have options to stay for the next few seasons after that. There is at least a little fan base for the Wolfpack in Hartford, and I doubt they would travel to Bridgeport to see them. I feel that makes moving the Hartford team down to Bridgeport very doubtful. What then? Maybe try to get the CT Sun to play there? Or maybe start a pro dodgeball team? Something tells me that won’t happen…
The point I’m trying to make is that the Webster Bank Arena will be in serious trouble if the Sound Tigers move, and doubly so because there seems to be no heir apparent. For the sake of keeping pro level sports in this state, let’s hope that this move never happens! It’s tough being a hockey fan in CT, and it seems it won’t be getting any easier.