We have been telling our readers for a LONG time that at some point the Bridgeport Sound Tigers were going to leave, “The Park City” and move to Long Island. Now comes word that we were right and it’s 100% going to happen.
Buried in this story by Brett Cyrgalis in the New York Post comes this little nugget:
“(Bruce) Ratner (who won the contract to rebuild the Nassau Coliseum) also said the Islanders’ AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, will become a main tenant of the new Coliseum once it’s completed.”
That opens the door to what we’ve been saying all along that the New York Rangers will take the Hartford Wolf Pack out of Connecticut’s capitol after their current contract ends and move them to the better facility and closer to NYC to in the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Now that is 100% conjecture on our part and we have had ZERO discussions with anyone in the organization about it, but it just makes perfect sense on so many levels.
Here’s our reasoning…
1) James Dolan’s Cablevision has TV contracts throughout almost all of Fairfield County and marketing the team through those contracts would be almost cost free.
2) Whether they want to admit it or not, Fairfield County is Rangers territory, not Islanders territory. They will not be in a semi-hostile environment where they have struggled to sell season’s tickets. Between Boston Bruins fans and the left over Hartford Whalers fans, it’s never been an environment screaming out for the Rangers. Moving to Fairfield County ends that.
3) The facility in Bridgeport is 1,000 times better than the XL Center which needs in excess, according to estimates, north of $90M worth of repairs.
4) The Webster Bank Arena is right on the train line from NYC (in fact the station to the Arena is covered in a walkway) and can easily be reached by NY Rangers fans who would want to see prospects or can’t afford the skyrocketing cost of MSG and would be able to be sold by Account Executives in NYC.
5) More and larger locations to work out in. With Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport already having VERY heavy connection to the Rangers and a tremendous facility to boot, would likely be their home for practice and then there’s The Rinks in Shelton, which has also had relationship with the Sound Tigers. That’s NOT a knock on Champions Skating Center in Cromwell which is a great facility as well, but would be too far to serve a relocated Rangers AHL team and would likely serve whatever team stayed in Hartford.
There are five good reasons. If you have more feel free to share them.
Incidentally, this does not mean that the capitol will be without a Hartford Wolf Pack. They could easily get another affiliation with another NHL franchise and most likely would…and with it not being a Rangers team, who knows, maybe that would even help the ticket sales since that New York animosity would be gone.