Sports Commentary 4/23/14: The Islanders or Whalers Aren’t Coming
THE WHALERS AREN’T COMING.
Don’t you people know you’re being used. Everyone knows how to push your buttons, what rumors to float to mobilize you for their own purposes. The latest case was a simple radio station promotion and you fell for it.
The tip off was obvious, weekend promos to tune in for a major announcement concerning Hartford and the National Hockey League on the Monday morning show. Didn’t anyone stop to think if the music station in question had such news, with so many members of the legitimate Hartford sports media tracking down every lead, by waiting until Monday to break it the station risked losing the story to a legitimate news operation, such as ours, which, by the way, was at one time owned by the man at the center of the story, who still maintains close ties with many of us here?
Didn’t anyone stop to think about the way the story was broken before taking to the face book pages and twitter lines to flood the market with news that, “The Whalers are coming, the Whalers are coming”?
Didn’t anyone think there were better questions to ask the unidentified caller who dialed into the show with the fantastic news that Hartford businessman Arnold Chase was going to purchase the New York Islanders and move them to Hartford than, “When did you first learn of this?” You were played for suckers who only knew one element of the story, that, for the right price, the Islanders may be for sale. The right price is reportedly $300 million, not cheap by NHL standards.
No one thought to ask if there were any other bidders for the team and, if so, who. A much more pertinent question would have dealt with the Islanders 25 year lease with the Barclays Center that’s so appealing most potential buyers would insist on the lease coming along as part of the purchase price. It would make little sense to add a buyout of the lease to the cost of the team for the purpose of moving it from a state of the art facility in Brooklyn, New York to a refurbished XL Center in economically depressed Hartford.
None of these questions were asked and I ignored the story for what it obviously was, a publicity stunt. But it, apparently, wasn’t obvious to everyone and the cyber universe screamed out the news that Hartford was about to become an NHL market again. I heard from so many people wondering why I wasn’t on top of the story, why I was being beaten to a story in my domain by a music station, a question that is it’s own answer, to the point where I had no choice but to put it to rest with a simple phone call, to the man himself, who responded with, “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t even know who the Islanders are.”
Suddenly, on the Whalers Booster Club face book page, I became Mr. Negative Hartford Media, dashing the 17 year old dreams of devoted fans who couldn’t let go of their team. It was your belief there was fire beneath the smoke screen of this story that forced me to simply do my job and now you condemn me for it. I’ve always had a good relationship with the Hartford Whalers Booster Club and I admire their efforts to maintain membership in good standing among the other NHL booster clubs.
They know no one would like to see the Whalers come back more than me. Purchasing and moving a team has to be approved just as much as expansion into a new market. Nothing is as simple as this story made it seem. Keep that in mind the next time someone tries to use you for their own purposes, and they will, as long as you keep taking the bait. I am not the enemy, I was just doing the job you pressured me into doing.
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.