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Report: New Brooklyn arena really wants the Islanders

Feb 3, 2012, 2:42 PM EDT

Barclays Center

Speculation the Islanders could move to Brooklyn intensified recently after the team announced it would play a preseason game at the new Barclays Center on Oct. 2.

Today, WFAN’s BD Gallof is reporting that the arena, originally built for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, is pushing hard for the hockey team to make it home as well.

According to sources, including one within the NHL and another with knowledge of the Barclays Center, the venue is making an “aggressive sales pitch.” In addition, the league source said “the chances of the New York Islanders to Brooklyn are actually pretty good.” The preseason game, sources said, is being viewed as a chance for [team owner Charles] Wang to get a sense of what life would be like in Brooklyn.

Earlier this week it was reported that the Islanders would have a tough time moving to Brooklyn as the Rangers would claim territorial rights. However, an NHL source told Gallof, “99 percent certain the Isles wouldn’t have to pay the Rangers a dime if they moved to Brooklyn or Queens… There is no fee, but the Rangers wouldn’t be happy about it. But there’s not much they could do.”

The Islanders’ lease at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum expires after the 2014-15 season.

The Barclays Center isn’t an ideal NHL venue; it will only seat 14,500 for hockey, which would make it the smallest building in the league. However, if the Islanders can fill the place, including luxury suites, it’s better than what they’ve got now.

  1. kicksave1980 - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I’ve heard about how bad Nassau is for years, but I’ve never been there. If there are any Islanders fans here, what exactly makes Nassau so terrible? I know it’s old, but what else?

    • bcisleman - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      It really isn’t that bad. It has great sightlines and there really isn’t a bad seat. It just needs a major and well conceived facelift and that requires money. The local pols are all arrogant idiots who cater to special interests, the economy is bad, and the Isles have been struggling so no one has tried very hard to work with Wang to get it done.

    • bcisleman - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Should add that one advantage a move to Brooklyn or Queens would have is access to mass transit. Queens especially because Long Island fans are familiar with it from Met games might help expand the fan base. But it would be good to keep the team in Uniondale where the last team to win 4 straight championships in any sport and the only pro sports team to win 19 straight playoff series did it all.

      • lewdood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:18 PM

        Exactly right about mass transit. The Barclays Center sits above an enormous transit hub that includes LIRR and a slew of subway lines. When I lived in Brooklyn it took me 30 mins to drive to Nassau Coliseum for a weekend afternoon game. I would never have considered battling traffic to get to a weeknight game. Now they’ll be able to pull Islanders who work out on the Island and can commute non-peak to games, Islanders who work in the city who can hop on the train after the game to head home (and get dinner in the City beforehand), and NYC folks who just need to hop on the subway or a bus to get to a game.

        This is easily the best scenario for the Isles, be it under Wang’s ownership or if he sells to Prokhorov (the Russian who owns the Nets).

  2. bcisleman - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    “It was reported”? You mean Stu Hackel made an unwarranted assumption based upon a vague comment by Bettman.

    There is NO question about whether the Isles can relocate to Brooklyn. They can. That was settled back in the 1980s.

    The question is whether they will want to. It is unclear whether many of the team’s Long Island fans will want to commute to games in Brooklyn. Renovation of NVMC or building an arena and parking garage alongside CitiField are more likely with Brooklyn as a last resort.

    BTW, I am sure that the NYR would not be happy if the NYI moved to Brooklyn, but they’d prefer that to them leaving the NY area.

  3. buffalomafia - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Would they be called Brooklyn Islanders?

    • bcisleman - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Of course not.

  4. libraves99 - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    The islanders and Wang should look at a area in western Suffolk county on long island. The area I ‘m talking about is the pilgrim state. There mega amount of property there and very close to the LI 495 expressway and right off the sagatos pkwy. A really hot spot

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