2PM: The Sound Tigers have released this statement:
“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here”
12:44PM: Bruce Ratner has announced that as part of the Nassau Coliseum renovation, the Islanders AHL team will relocate from Bridgeport, Connecticut to the Nassau Coliseum.
With the city of Bridgeport losing their team, it is rumored that the Rangers will move from Hartford to Bridgeport when their three-year contract is up.
The Sound Tigers will continue to play in Bridgeport for at least two more seasons, as the Islanders will occupy the Coliseum then, and the AHL may allow the Rangers to move their team to Bridgeport.
The Rangers had expressed interest, according to the Hartford Courant, about moving to Bridgeport prior to coming to terms on a new deal with the city of Hartford.
The Sound Tigers president, while noting that the Islanders have eight-more years left on a lease, said that it moving to Bridgeport would be the perfect situation for the Rangers with it’s close proximity to New York City and Westchester, NY where the team practices.
Sources indicate that the lease with Webster Bank arena says that the arena needs a minor league hockey team to be it’s tenant and not necessarily the Islanders.
Michael Foranabaio writes in the CT Post that the Rangers are usually the organization most mentioned when the topic of succeeding the Islanders comes up.
The trip from Bridgeport to NYC is about an hour shorter than the trip from Hartford to NYC. It takes less than an hour to get from Bridgeport to where the Rangers practice in Westchester.
The Courant also notes that Harbor Yards Sports and Entertainment, the organization that manages Webster Bank arena, has registered the domain name “CTRangers.com” and “ConnecticutRangers.com”