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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Isles 40 in 40 -- #24

Isles 40 in 40 -- #24

In honor of the Isles 40th anniversary year, I've put together a list of the Top 40 moments in club history.  I'll go through them throughout the season, bit by bit.

November 8-9, 1971 -- Franchise Granted!

I remember all the moments on the list, having witnessed all of them, either in person, on television, or on radio. A handful occurred while I was in College so I didn't see them live but have seen enough highlights to feel like I saw them. 

All of the moments, except one. This one.

I was 7 years old in the fall of 1971 and I can't say that I remember the day that the Islanders were granted their franchise.  

That November, the NHL Board of Governors voted to expand from 14 teams to 16.  The new teams would eventually be named the Atlanta Flames and the New York Islanders.  The expansion in 1972, to the still-under construction Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, was orchestrated in part to keep the World Hockey Association from placing a team in the building.

The move worked, as the WHA played parts of two seasons under different names  "Raiders" and "Golden Blades", under different owners, at Madison Square Garden before moving to South Jersey midway through the 1973-74 season.

As for the Long Island franchise, it was eventually granted to a partnership led by Roy L.M. Boe, who also owned the New York Nets.  However, it's a common misconception that the franchise was awarded to Boe in November.  That actually didn't happen, until December 30, 1971 when Boe and his 10 partners were granted the franchise.

The Islanders were a hit, almost immediately.  A Sports Illustrated profile of Boe ran as the Isles debuted in October 1972 and noted:

The combination of playing at the Nassau Coliseum and the Islanders' membership in the long-established National Hockey League practically guarantees the team financial success from the outset. The Islanders have sold 9,000 season tickets and expect to average 12,000 fans a game. "We're pretty certain to make money the first year with the Islanders," Boe says. "And I feel safe saying that, even though we haven't dropped a puck yet."
 (Al Arbour, Roy Boe and Ed Westfall)

As it would turn out, despite the Islanders'  success at the box office and near-instant success on the ice, there was not enough funds behind Boe in order to maintain the franchise.  Part of the costs was a $4 million indemnification payment owed to the Rangers for entering their territory. Boe and partners had put up $2 million in cash to get the franchise, and borrowed the remaining $8 million (including $6 million for the franchise fee).  By the time Boe was forced to sell the franchise in the summer of 1978, he actually owed $9.5 million on the original $8 million debt. Boe sold the franchise to John O. Pickett, and it was under Pickett's stewardship that four Stanley Cups were won by the Islanders.

However, Moment #24 belongs to The Beginning -- when the NHL awarded a franchise to Long Island.

The List to Date:

#25--November 13, 1979 -- Double Chili
#26--April 16-17, 1980 -- Isles Beat (Up) Bruins
#27--January 2, 1986 -- Bossy Fastest to 500
#28--April 2, 1993-- Turgeon's 50th OTs Rangers at MSG
#29--October, 2001 -- Isles Start Laviolette Era 9-0-1-1
#30--November 23, 2009-- Roloson sets franchise record with 58 saves
#31--December 20, 1985 and January 28, 1986--Potvin Passes Orr.. Twice
#33 -- June 26, 2009  -- Islanders Select John Tavares
#34 -- May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup
#35 -- January 6,1981 --With Bossy Chasing 50, Tonelli Lights Up the Leafs
#36 -- January 18, 1973 -- Expansion Isles Beat the Champs
#37 -- November 28, 1979 -- Billy Smith is credited with a goal
#38 -- December 23, 1978 -- Trottier re-writes the record book
#39 -- February 11, 2011 -- Isles pound Pens 9-3
#40 -- Summer 2001 -- Isles hire Laviolette, trade for Peca and Yashin, claim Osgood.
March 16, 2010 -- Tavares' 5-point game.
February 13, 2011 -- Grab-Trick. 
March 31, 1990 -- Uwe, Uwe. 

Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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