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Saturday, December 20, 2014
Fan Reaction
Valley Streamers ponder future of Islanders
Provided photo
Phillip Ferro, left, and his brother William, right, met Islanders all-star center John Tavares over the summer at a season ticket holder event.

The New York Islanders have been Long Island’s lone professional sports team since 1977, but in three years that will no longer be the case, as team officials last month announced a move to Brooklyn in three years. The announcement came as a surprise to some Islanders fans in Valley Stream, but others saw the move coming long before the announcement.

“My initial reaction was complete shock,” said Phillip Ferro, a Valley Stream resident for 33 years and longtime Islanders fan. “The thought of the team possibly moving has kind of lingered the past year or two, but deep down, I thought that something would get worked out.

“I also hadn’t heard any rumors of a move, so I was really kind of blindsided by it,” he added.

Islanders officials have threatened for years to move out of Nassau Coliseum, their home since 1972, when their lease expires following the 2014-15 season if a new facility isn’t built. Last year, Nassau County voters defeated a referendum that would have publicly financed a new arena. In the months following the referendum vote, team owner Charles Wang made it clear that he would explore all options with respect to the future of the Islanders, and ultimately decided to move to Brooklyn.

“The announcement did not surprise me one bit,” said Chris DeVoe, a Valley Stream resident for the past eight years. “I’m glad they had the opportunity to stay in New York and somewhat local.”

Valley Stream resident, Islanders fan and current Village Treasurer Michael Fox said the move could potentially help the team be more successful in the coming years by attracting free agents, but he’s just happy they’re staying in the area.

 “My initial reaction was relief,” he said of the news. “I had already accepted that they were not staying in Nassau, so I was happy to find out that they weren’t moving further away to Las Vegas or Quebec, or any of the other rumored locations.”

Ferro, who is an Islanders season ticket holder at Nassau Coliseum, said that when the team moves to Brooklyn, getting to games might be difficult. “I’m sure I will still go to a handful of games on weekends, but it will just be too much of a hassle to go on a regular basis now,” he said. “Unfortunately, I will be giving up my seats.”

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