Voters from Nassau County in Long Island New York rejected a proposal to use $400-million in taxpayers money to build an arena for the New York Islanders and a minor-league ballpark.
In a public referendum held Monday, 57% of voters were against the plan and 43% were in favour, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.
“I’m heartbroken that this was not passed,” team owner Charles Wang said in a statement. “Right now, it’s an emotional time and we’re not going to make any comments on any specific next steps.”
Wang has stated in the past that without the construction of a new arena he would consider relocating the team.
The Islanders’ lease on their current rink, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, expires in 2015. Wang has committed to honouring it.
Wang became a part-owner of the Islanders in 2000 and majority owner in 2004. The team has had the lowest average attendance for home games in the NHL four out of the six seasons since the lockout in 2004-05, according to ESPN. Their lowest attendance numbers came in 2010-11 when they drew an average of 11,059 fans per night at Nassau Coliseum.