August 3, 2000
For Isles, a Bridgeport Farm
By JENNY KELLNER
Beginning next season, the Islanders will not have to ship their
prospects off to Chicago or to Massachusetts. The team announced
yesterday that a new American Hockey League franchise in Bridgeport,
Conn., would become the Islanders' primary development affiliate.
General Manager Mike Milbury said the five-year agreement was another
indication of the commitment being made by the team's new owners,
Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar.
"We've been shipping our players to several different sites," Milbury
said. "Now, we can control the coaching, the goaltending situation
and dictate the style of play."
The new Bridgeport franchise is owned by Roy Boe, the original owner
of the Nets, and is scheduled to begin play in October, 2001 in a new
9,000-seat arena at Harbor Yard, next to Bridgeport's minor league
"It's 60 miles from the Nassau Coliseum to Bridgeport, which is close
enough for us to keep tabs on the players and far enough away for
them to know it's the minor leagues," Milbury said.
The Islanders will continue to send younger players to Springfield
and Lowell of the A.H.L. next season, with veterans going to Chicago
of the International Hockey League.
Milbury also noted that, with only 37 days left until the opening of
training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Islanders have yet to sign
the restricted free agents Brad Isbister, Zdeno Chara, Roman Hamrlik,
Ray Giroux, Dmitri Nabokov and Kenny Jonsson, the team's captain.
"For each player, there's a different circumstance," Milbury said. "I
really am intent on doing whatever we can do, short of giving money
away, to get these guys in at the start of training camp.
"Giving Butch the opportunity to work with a complete complement of
players is important," Milbury said, referring to the Islanders'
coach, Butch Goring.