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February 4, 2017

Malloy offers NHL's NY Islanders a Hartford home

Images | Contributed A rendering of a renovated XL Center, which could help attract a major league team.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin have penned a letter to executives of the New York Islanders NHL hockey team offering them the chance to play in Hartford on an interim basis after the 2017-2018 season.

The Islanders currently call New Jersey’s Barclays Center home, but their lease runs out after the 2017-18 season and it’s not clear if either side has interest maintaining their relationship.

In the letter, Malloy and Bronin pitch Hartford’s XL Center as a temporary home for the Islanders, but also suggest that the entertainment venue could be rebuilt, with the help of private investors, to meet NHL standards and serve as a long-term home.

The XL Center is in need of a major upgrade and the Capital Region Development Authority has recommended a $250 million renovation. Those funds, however, would need to be approved by the state legislature, which is grappling with major budget deficits.

The XL Center, of course, formerly played home to the NHL’s Hartford Whalers, before the team moved to North Carolina in 1997.

Malloy touted the state’s strong hockey fan base, numerous Fortune 500 companies and wealthy population as major selling points.

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