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Commissioner Gary Bettman stepped to the podium yesterday at the Adam’s Playhouse, received a tremendous ovation from the 1,150 citizens in attendance, thanked the good officiating from the night before for the ovation (a joke, obviously), and then he proceeded to deliver a well-articulated speech. In his speech, Bettman defended the Islanders adamantly, he defended Long Island and Long Islanders alike, and then he defended New York Islanders owner, Charles Wang. For a man who has watched nearly eight years of his life and millions of dollars fade into the Town of Hempstead abyss, Wang earned every single word of praise from the Commissioners mouth.

At Hofstra yesterday, as well, Mike Bossy and Bobby Nystrom, two hockey legends and two of the icons from the Islanders glory days, stepped forward and delivered speeches with heart, with passion, and most importantly, with a Long Island resident point of view. Both made sure to mention that they not only played for the New York Islanders during their glory days, but they are both now permanent Long Islanders, and they feel the troubles that are occurring on Long Island. They made sure to say they love it here, that they enjoy having their families here, that they see the potential here, and they can’t wait to be a part of the future here. For two men who could have walked away from the organization after they left hockey, both have decided to be a part of the long, painful process that has been the Lighthouse Project. A large thank you goes out to them for their unyielding support.

Yesterday at the Lighthouse Conference, the Unions were out in large numbers to support the 19,000 permanent jobs. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Conference, many local Boards of Education came forth and spoke about how the nearly $70 million in tax revenue could benefit the financial troubles they are having in their respective districts. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Conference, citizens stepped forward and explained that in the recession we are in, the economic boost that will come from the Lighthouse is almost a no brainer. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Conference, republicans and democrats alike professed that we need to move away from doing nothing on Long Island, and finally develop a masterful project to put Long Island on the map. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Conference, Chris Botta, who does not have a secured interest in the Islanders or the Lighthouse by any means, passionately weaved his words of magic we have all enjoyed thousands of times on Islanders Point Blank about the importance of the Lighthouse. And most importantly, yesterday at the conference, Islander fans showed up to demonstrate the true passion that underlies this organization by supporting the Lighthouse.

Yesterday at the conference, citizens came forward to magnify the large holes in the Lighthouse Project, and the fact that it isn’t good for the people of the Town of Hempstead or Long Island in the long run. Oh wait, that never happened! Actually, I was quite taken back at the lack of any organized opposition to the Lighthouse Project that had the opportunity to present itself in large numbers yesterday. Besides Garden City residents who felt that it may affect the economy of their locale, and several random citizens who brought forth some problems they may have had with the project (at most, two to three citizens), their was ZERO opposition to the beautiful Lighthouse Project.

As Gary Bettman said yesterday, and as many of the backers of the Lighthouse Project have reiterated since the end of the “Lighthouse Cold War” between Wang and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, the Lighthouse Project seems to finally have a large momentum behind it pushing it forward. It began with the end of the aforementioned “Cold War,” and the snowball effect continued through the drafting of Tavares (maybe not politically, but it was a sure-fire shot in the arm for the fan base). The snowball seemed to become an avalanche with the Press Conference held at the Nassau Coliseum, where Governor Patterson put his full support behind the project, which had every politician in attendance not only apparently backing Patterson’s stance, but also enjoying the photo opportunities a day like that presented. Yesterday at the Adam’s Playhouse, that momentum that has slowly but surely formed over the past six months erupted into a dominant showing of support, and a TREMENDOUS step in the right direction for the project.

That dreary, empty-stomached feeling many of us had six months ago seems to be a distant memory. After the past several months of positive steps, and after a dominating win yesterday by Charles Wang, Scott Rechler, the New York Islanders, and most importantly, Long Islanders, it seems as if we are closer than ever before. The New York Islanders obviously don’t win too often, but yesterday was a convincing victory.

In my personal opinion, there is finally a Lighthouse at the end of this seven-year tunnel.

-Justin ([email protected])
Filed Under:   New York Islanders   NHL   NYI   Islanders   Lighthouse  
August 5, 2009 11:14 AM ET | Delete
Maybe just maybe we have turned the corner!
August 5, 2009 2:52 PM ET | Delete
I sure hope so for the sake of the fans on the Island.
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