HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Friday officially urged the New York Islanders to consider moving to Connecticut’s capital city.
The Democrats sent a letter to the National Hockey League team’s management, offering Hartford’s XL Center as an option for its interim use.
They also suggested the downtown arena could be “a long-term solution to your needs,” noting it would be transformed into “today’s NHL standards.” They pledged to work with “private partners to develop the building you would be proud to call home.”
The Islanders’ future in Brooklyn was called into question Monday when it was reported arena management wasn’t counting on any revenue from the hockey club beyond the 2018-19 season. Islanders’ management has declined to comment.
Hartford currently hosts a minor league hockey team. The city of approximately 125,000 people was previously home to the Whalers, an NHL team that relocated to North Carolina in 1997.
Malloy and Bronin wrote that Connecticut offers “an NHL market with more Fortune 500 companies than many NHL cities” and a population base where 35 percent of the households within 60 minutes of Hartford have an average income of more than $100,000.
“Of course, Hartford was home to the Whalers, whose fan base is still ranked as one of the NHL’s most energetic with the continued sale of items trademarked with the classic green and blue logo,” they wrote. “This is a ready market anxious for an NHL team, eager to fill seats, buy merchandise and support your team.”
The Islanders currently have an American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport.
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