FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Hartford Islanders? Don't laugh. Governor Dannel Malloy is making a play to bring the National Hockey League franchise to the state.
Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to executives of the Long Island-based team Friday and expressed interest in bringing the team to Hartford. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn recently ended its relationship with the team, which will play its final season there next year.
A Bloomberg story said the Islanders attendance at Islanders games at the Brooklyn venue has fallen to an average of 12,828 fans per game, the third worst figure in the league. The Islanders are 22-17-9 this year, the 11th-best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Bloomberg story said fans have complained about poor sight lines, and players say the ice is sub-par.
"Hartford offers an NHL market with an NHL market with more Fortune 500 companies than many NHL cities including Columbus, Raleigh, Buffalo and Nashville, with a substantial number of second-stage growth companies,'' the letter from Malloy and Bronin said. "Thirty-five percent of the households within 60 minutes have an average income over $100,000. There are 1.2 million people within a 30-minute drive and 3.1 million within 60 minutes."
Hartford had been home to the Hartford Whalers from 1979-1997. The team moved to North Carolina and is now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. The team's owner, Peter Karmanos, cited lackluster attendance as one of the reasons for the move from Hartford.
The Islanders affiliate in the American Hockey League is the Sound Tigers, who are based in Bridgeport.
Click on the attached PDF to read the letter from Malloy and Bronin.See Attachment