(above : Wang answers a question from local taxpayer Snow with unusual candor)
The Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders are playing an exhbiition game this evening at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Guess which of the two teams might lookingly at their surroundings and think, wouldn’t it be swell to play here instead of that dump we’re currently housed in?” While you’ll mulling that one over, Newsday’s Katie Strang take stock of tonight’s friendly coinciding with seems to be judgement day for Charles Wang’s Lighthouse Project.
While this was supposed to be a game to garner attention and gauge the level of interest and success the Islanders might enjoy in a new market, all that takes a backseat now to the action back at the zoning hearing in NY.
From the hockey perspective there is not much to do from Kansas City but focus on the upcoming game. While several Islanders expressed a desire for not only a new building, but one that would allow the team to remain on Long Island, all that is out of their hands.
That said, it was hard not to admire the new, sparkling gem of a facility like the Sprint Center and dream about one day playing in a new place of their own. Snow, Gordon, and a bunch of players and staff members got the grand tour and were blown away by the beautiful, new venue. Even the visitor’s locker room is monstrous and opulent compared to their digs back at the Coliseum.
I’m not sure if there’s ever been an instance where a professional team that abandoned the New York metropolitan market for the midwest. Far be it for me to advise a successful businessman like Mr. Wang how to run an NHL franchise, but it might make sense to canvas door to door in Hempstead, if only to reassure lapsed fans that Mike Milbury has absolutely nothing to do with the team.