While Brooklyn residents rejoiced Wednesday alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg to news of the New York Islanders scheduled 2015 arrival at the Barclays Center, Nassau residents were left scratching their heads as to what went wrong.
"More than ever before, Brooklyn is the place where everyone wants to be," Bloomberg said shortly after the announcement of the Isles' departure. If Bloomberg's statement is right, it also means that Nassau County is now a place where nobody wants to be.
Local politicians expressed their disappointment Wednesday after news of the relocation broke, but that disappointment was lost on fans and residents who wanted answers.
Nassau residents and business owners began pointing fingers immediately after Islanders owner Charles Wang announced the first game of the 2015-16 season would be played in Brooklyn. From the taxpayers who voted down a referendum that would have allowed for a new arena to be built — pending NIFA's approval — to County Executive Ed Mangano, who some feel wasted time and a lot of money with that same vote, nobody was left off the ice (hockey reference).
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said Wednesday that she was "disappointed" after learning of the team's departure.
"They’ve been a valued part of this region's identity, and we wish the team great success in the future," the supervisor said.
However, many local fans are also still bitter about Murray's role in denying the Lighthouse Project.
Originally proposed by in 2003, the massive Lighthouse Project proposal allotted for a five-star hotel, convention centers, shopping areas, offices, condos, restaurants and a brand new Nassau Coliseum.
The Lighthouse was rejected multiple times by Murray and the town's zoning board, who continually cited the "size, scope and character" as major problems.
In 2010, one blogger went as far to say that Murray "slit Long Island's throat" by standing against the project.
The blog reads:
Thank you Kate Murray, for treating a group that wanted to invest billions of dollars in the Town of Hempstead as an inconvenience.
Then, there's the team itself.
The Islanders performance on the ice over the last handful of seasons has not helped their cause. Since being eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the 2006-07 playoffs, the Islanders have not finished higher than 26th out of 30 teams in the National Hockey League.
The lack of wins on the ice has resulted in a lack of fans in the seats at the Nassau Coliseum.
The once-dominant franchise that won four consecutive Stanley Cup titles in the early 1980s had transcended into a team filled with ludicrous contracts and questionable trades. The theme, which started in the mid-2000s, crippled the Islanders for many seasons and the team is still recovering.
Superstar John Tavares was thought to be a savior when the team drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009, but even the 22-year-old phenom couldn't do it all.
But now, amidst a time when Nassau is already in financial dire straits, the team's relocation some 25 miles west begs for a serious answer to the question, "Who is to blame for the Islanders leaving Nassau County?"