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Brooklyn arena “could easily support a hockey team,” says owner

Apr 30, 2012, 3:54 PM EDT

Barclays Center Getty Images

Not for the first time, the owner of the brand new Barclays Center expressed his desire for an NHL team, possibly the New York Islanders, to move to Brooklyn and play in his arena.

“(Barclays Center) was made for hockey and basketball,” Bruce Ratner told the Associated Press today. “It could easily support a hockey team.”

For now, it’s only slated to support basketball. The NBA’s Nets will call it home next season.

And whether it was “made for hockey” is debatable. The capacity for basketball is 18,103; for hockey it’s just 14,500, which would make it the smallest in the NHL.

If Ratner had been targeting a hockey tenant before the Barclays Center was built, wouldn’t he have made it more NHL-friendly?

The Islanders, of course, still don’t have a place to play past 2015 when their lease expires at obsolete Nassau Coliseum.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman briefly addressed the Islanders-to-Brooklyn possibility last week.

“Barclays, I suppose on some level, is an option,” he said in a not-so-ringing endorsement, adding that it’s “not anywhere near” to the point where it’s the only option.

Regardless, it’s hard to see the Islanders moving somewhere like Quebec City or Seattle. The NHL really won’t want to leave that market. The Isles still get significantly higher local TV ratings than places like Florida, Phoenix and Columbus. And with a better building, and more importantly a better team, attendance would surely improve.

  1. bcisleman - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Of course, Barclays could be a short term solution while an arena was built in Queens, which has expressed an interest. Construction on the old Shea site would merely be a handshake deal although it would require the building of a parking garage as well. It would be an appropriate site as Bill Shea was instrumental in getting NVMC built as well as Shea Stadium. And many Islander fans are used to commuting to Queens to see the Mets.

    In any event, the Isles’ days in Uniondale are numbered. Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray was quoted on Twitter by a Newsday reporter…better you should just read it as well as BD Gallof’s followup commentary:

  2. jerseypatriot76 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    The Islanders only averaged more than 14,500 people one time in the last dozen seasons. The NHL should be happy if the Islanders could fill all of the seats available for hockey at the Barclays Center. Plus those seats would be more expensive because of the new building and all of the suites.

    I just do not see them staying in Nassau County. That bridge seems to have been burned. I think it is either Brooklyn or a new home for the Isles.

  3. pone27 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    I would count Nassau County out for a new Coliseum, but not Suffolk.

    The majority of the Islanders fan base is here in Suffolk. Moving the Isles any closer to MSG would not bode well IMO.

    BTW, Kate Murray, F-You. Signed, a Blackhawks fan from LI.

    • bcisleman - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      The majority of Isles fans are from Suffolk? According to who? Link please! Don’t see what difference proximity to MSG would make. Problem with Brooklyn is distance. It has the advantage of mass transit access as Queens would. Any Suffolk location would lack such mass transit access and would be a long car trip for Nassau & NYC fans. And, of course, Barclay’s has a huge advantage over Suffolk in that it exists and an arena in Suffolk is a long way from reality.

  4. tackledummy1505 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I would like to see the Islanders stay in New York City. It’s a shame they don’t get any love there with their history and I love their jerseys. I’m a Flyers fan.

    • bcisleman - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      Many older fans like me have hung on because of the history. For younger fans, however, Potvin, Trottier, Bossy, Gillies, Nystrom, Tonelli and Morrow are just names…although Bossy is in the front office and makes appearances and Nystrom is very involved as well. The team has to establish a new tradition, a new identity. The path to that new identity has been painfully slow thanks to the very complete job Mik Milbury did of destroying the franchise. Unlike Stammer, for example, JT did not have a MSL and VLC to mentor him and help him to succeed.

      PS: minor quibble: Isles are a NY area team located in Nassau County, Long Island, a suburb of NYC. If they move to Brooklyn, they will then be in NYC proper.

  5. rainyday56 - May 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    They should negotiate to share MSG with the Rangers, like the Lakers and Clippers share Staples. They could become the Manhattan Islanders.

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