Islanders Leaving Long Island To Play At Barclays Center Beginning In '15
The Islanders today announced they are moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, beginning with the '15-16 season. The announcement was made during a press conference attended by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders Owner Charles Wang, N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Seifman & Calder report the Islanders will “keep their name at the insistence of NHL officials.” Brooklyn leaders, Wang and “arena managers, eager to score a second major tenant for Barclays, joining the NBA's Nets, had no problems with that demand.” The Islanders have “long sought a new home, to replace the crumbling Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.” The team has been “handicapped by their abysmal arena, making it difficult to attract free agents to come to the team and fans to show up for one that has consistently been at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference in recent seasons.” There have been rumors of “potential overtures from other cities like Kansas City and provinces like Quebec desperate to regain an NHL franchise.” While the team is “now destined to leave Long Island, this may be a compromise local fans can accept” (NYPOST.com, 10/24). On Long Island, John Valenti notes the Islanders' lease expires in '15 , and Wang "has made it clear he has no intention of the Islanders playing in that arena beyond that.” The team has “sought a new arena to replace the Coliseum dating back to the 1990s, but have been consistently rebuffed by Nassau County officials.” Barclays Center seats 18,000 when configured for basketball, but it is “unclear how many fans it would seat if configured for hockey.” The Wall Street Journal in February estimated the hockey capacity was “in the 14,500-seat range.” The team was “supposed to play a preseason game at the Barclays Center against the Devils on Oct. 2, but that was canceled due to the ongoing NHL lockout” (NEWSDAY.com, 10/24).