The New York Islanders filed a lawsuit against their top American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ ownership Friday, the Connecticut Post reported.
The lawsuit was filed on the grounds that the group, Bridgeport Professional Sports, is significantly behind on its affiliation payments.
“We are disappointed that the Islanders decided to file suit,” Sound Tigers Executive Vice President Todd Boe said to the Post.
An industry source told the Post that Bridgeport owes more than $700,000 on its affiliation fee for this season. This accounts for three-quarters of the affiliate fee hasn’t been paid, which, the source claims, to could be less than $1 million per season.
“Someone that bid $250 million for the NJ Nets is worried about less than a million?”, Boe said to the Post, referring to Islanders owner Charles Wang, who made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the New Jersey Nets.
The Islanders filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, N.Y., against Bridgeport Professional Sports.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler for trial and to U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael L. Orenstein for pre-trial hearings.
If the Islanders do not get paid, they could terminate their affiliation agreement with the Sound Tigers. The five-year deal has two years remaining beyond this season. The Sound Tigers are New York’s only AHL affiliate, which debuted in the league three years ago.
A source told the Connecticut newspaper that it’s unlikely New York remove their prospects from the Sound Tiger organization this season. With the AHL playoff set to begin in two weeks, the Islanders would test their younger players in a playoff scenario. The Sound Tigers reached the 40-win plateau for the third time in team history. Bridgeport will have home-ice advantage in the first round of the 20 team Calder Cup Playoffs with either a first or second place finish in the East Division. The club sits in second place with 94 points. The AHL regular season ends this weekend, the Sound Tigers will be on the road in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.