If the New York Islanders cannot find a new home building by the end of the 2018-19 NHL season, they will be forced to relocate.
Barclays Center, where the Islanders currently play, is terminating its relationship with the hockey club, according to reports, giving the Isles until the end of the 2018-19 to call its arena home.
reported by WFSB Eyewitness News, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin have sent a letter to the Islanders in an attempt to relocate the club to Hartford.
The proposal invites the Islanders to play in downtown Hartford after the 2017-18 season at the XL Center, which, according to Malloy, is in the "process of installing a new ice floor and dasher boards."
"Recognizing that may issues will complicate your decision making, we would nonetheless like to offer Hartford's XL Center as an option for your interim use," Malloy said in a letter address to Islanders owners Jon Ledecky, Scott Malkin and Charles Wang dated Feb. 3. "Of course, as we pursue the transformation of the building into today's NHL standards, we would suggest the building as a long-term solution to your needs as well."
Connecticut has been without an NHL franchise since the Hartford Whalers left the state to become the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997.
"Hartford offers an NHL market with more Fortune 500 companies than many NHL cities including Columbus, Raleigh, Buffalo, and Nashville," Malloy continued in the letter, "with a substantial number of second-stage growth companies."
The letter also mentions that 1.2 million people are within a 30-minute drive of the XL Center, and 3.1 million people are within 60-minutes from the arena.
Ledecky and Malkin, as well as Barclays Center, have yet to comment on the reports that the Islanders will be in need of a new arena in the coming years.
In response to today's report, a high-ranking League source told TFP, "I don't anticipate the Islanders' franchise moving out of the New York Metropolitan area."
The Islanders have been exploring options for a new building going back to last season and are expected to narrow down their choices in the near future.
As reported by WFSB, the Hartford-New Haven television market is the largest in the country without a professional sports team.
The full letter sent to the Islanders can be