When The Hockey News informed legendary New York Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin that his only NHL franchise would be relocating to Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2015, the Hockey Hall-of-Famer grew more melancholy as the news settled in.
“You’re kidding,” Potvin said when THN informed him of the breaking news that Isles owner Charles Wang will move the team to Brooklyn’s new Barclay Center when their lease with decrepit Nassau Coliseum expires in the spring of 2015. “Even though my relationship with the Islanders is very minimal, I was a big supporter of them trying to get the vote for (a new arena to replace Nassau) and keep the team in Uniondale. But one thing about Mr. Wang, he likes a lot of control and obviously he’s not willing to give up the franchise, which is a good thing for continuity. Maybe they can better position themselves to be competitive in that building. That’s the best I can hope for.”
Potvin was well-aware of the team’s clashes with local politicians and rumors they could be relocated to somewhere such as Quebec City, but the apparent finality of the decision was hard to take, especially considering the dynasty he had been a huge part of during the Isles’ Stanley-Cup winning glory years from 1979-83.
“The more I think about this, the more it makes me sad.”
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