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The (Light)House That Ilya Built? | July
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October 3rd, 2009 was Islanders Owner Charles Wang’s “deadline” for the Town Of Hempstead to give him a verdict on the fate of the “Lighthouse Project”. Today is July 3rd. We’ve heard nothing since.

The Lighthouse Project is Wang and RexCorp’s $4,000,000,000 plan to re-develop the dilapidated Coliseum and the surrounding parking lot into a Long Island hotspot. The project has been stonewalled dating back to 2004. The Islanders are fettered to the Coliseum until 2015, when the contract is up. And if you think they want to stay there a second longer than required, you’re crazy. People from Hamilton, ON, to Quebec City, to Kansas City have vied to take the money-losing Isles of Wang’s hands.

 

"Various prospective owners sought to buy the team [...] The possible relocation sites about which there was the greatest speculation and discussion were Houston, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Hamilton, Ontario. The decision to keep the team in Pittsburgh proved favorable [...]”

They say history repeats itself.

The Penguins were in an almost parallel morass three years ago: get a new building for a losing team, or relocate. But the arrival of stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin persuaded the team’s management to keep the team in Pittsburgh. The beautiful Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Penguins, is set to open next season. It is being called “The House That Crosby Built”, because if it weren’t for Crosby, the Penguins probably would have relocated. This happened much in the same way that Eric Lindros generated the revenue and the excitement for the Philadelphia Flyers to build the new Wachovia Center.

The Islanders, of late, have suffered from a lack of offense, a lack of success, a lack of revenue, and the Coliseum is in desperate need of redevelopment.

If and when the Islanders sign Ilya Kovalchuk to that 10 year/$100M deal, he just might be the spark-plug for the Islanders and the Lighthouse Development Group to get something started. Ilya, combined with the likes of Tavares, Moulson and Okposo, is just the recipe for a successful, playoff-caliber offense. And success is the recipe for revenue. And revenue is the recipe for this redevelopment.

 

Crosby saved the Penguins, Lindros saved the Flyers....

At this point, if the Islanders want to stay on Long Island, they cannot afford NOT to sign Kovalchuk.