Thursday, March 13, 2008

Field of Dreams

The phone is ringing off the hook with demands for a response from the Islanders about appearing to be on the outside looking in if there is going to be an NHL game at Yankee Stadium. With respect, I submit that it does not make sense to respond right now because nothing is official.

There are a few things I can share. The New York Islanders, and only the New York Islanders, began discussions with the New York Yankees about an outdoor game at the old Ballyard in the Bronx more than two years ago. These conversations were high-level, make no mistake. They eventually grew deep enough that I had the privilege of taking part in one of the meetings, an all-hands-on-deck gathering with staff members from both the Islanders and Yanks representing areas from PR and advertising to ticket sales and operations. I vividly remember one of the Yankees' top field operations guys saying, "You want to have a hockey game here? I don't think the stadium could survive it."

Soon after, our new friends at the Yankees made it clear they were still very open to hosting an NHL game at the stadium - it would just have to be after the last baseball game was played.

(I should probably point out here that when these meetings were being held, everyone that should have been kept in the loop was. I'm also not aware of any time in the process when the Islanders were told to slow down or to stop pursuing this project).

Being realists - and fully appreciating the Rangers' standing as an Original Six franchise and No. 1 Market Franchise - we always understood that the game would be Islanders-Rangers. There is no better rivalry in hockey, or among New York teams.

Islanders-Rangers at Yankee Stadium would be incredible for hockey. And make no mistake, it would be phenomenal, invaluable for our franchise. I believe this has been made clear to all of the right people.

Until an official decision is made, we will continue to work on it and hope for the best.

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