Supporters for the economic development project, to build a new arena for the Islanders, rallied on the steps of the Nassau County Legislative Building Tuesday morning.
The rally took place prior to a public debate held inside the legislative building. There were numerous speakers on hand to show their support for the potential construction of a new arena for the Islanders to call home. This included Islanders management, Nassau County political leaders and labor organizers.
Union members were out in full force, but they were not alone. Many Islanders fans also made the trip to Mineola to show their team and their county that they are in favor of a new home for the Islanders.
|Islanders fans, Nassau County residents and Union workers rally on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. |
Daniel Mahoney, a lifelong Islanders fan, attended the event in a Kyle Okposo
jersey, to let public officials know that the Islanders faithful want the referendum for a new arena to be put on the ballot for a vote Aug. 1. Mahoney is weary that if the referendum does not pass, the Islanders may not call Long Island home much longer.
“I would do anything to keep them (Islanders) here.” Mahoney said. “That’s why I came here today, to show my support for my team that I’ve loved for so long now.”
Charlie McAnulla did not hear about the rally until late Monday night, but still managed to make it to the 8:30 a.m. event. McAnulla was encouraged by what he heard from the array of speakers that included Islanders owner Charles Wang, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow and Islanders legend Butch Goring.
“The speakers were very good,” McAnulla said. “They’re passionate about Long Island, and they speak from the heart. They don’t want Long Island to go off the map.”
McAnulla made the trip from Brooklyn today, but is an Oceanside native. He said next season will be his first as an Islanders season ticket holder, but he hopes it’s not his last.
|One young Islanders fan is hoisted high above his fathers head at the rally on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. |
Scott Clinco, a Levittown resident, has missed one home game in the past three seasons. His family owns season tickets and like many others today, Clinco wanted to voice his approval for the construction of a new arena.
There were multiple speeches that garnered approval from spectators, but Clinco said that one speech stuck out in particular.
“The fact that Wang went through all the hurdles that politicians and The Town of Hempstead put him through, that he’s still here is really good,” Clinco said.
Added Mahoney, “Mr. Mangano, Mr. Wang and Mr. Snow all brought up great points to why this building should be built, why the Islanders should stay here, and you leave it up to the voters and see what happens. I think it will pass.”
If Mahoney is correct and the referendum does get passed some fans are saying there’s no doubt that they would attend more games in a new arena. If there is a new arena, the Islanders would have a new season ticket holder in Mahoney.
|Islanders fans are interviewed by a local news sation while attending the rally on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. |
“I’ve been looking into buying season tickets with one of my friends or my dad,” Mahoney said. “If this does get passed, I would definitely look into buying season tickets for the new building.”
The support for a new Islanders arena was evident today, but it still remains to be seen whether the arena itself will come to fruition in 2015. Things have been looking up for the Islanders in recent months with the emergence of their young talent. The fans at the rally were optimistic about the team’s on-ice future. But all Islanders fans hope they get the chance to watch their home team grow in the coming years.
“It would be just devastating for me to lose this team,” Mahoney said.
The potential referendum vote Aug. 1 will decide just that.