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Brooklyn gains steam as possible Islanders destination

Jul 16, 2012, 8:20 PM EST

Construction On The New Jersey Net's New Home In Brooklyn, The Barclays Center Continues Getty Images

It’s been no secret that the New York Islanders aren’t happy with their current home in Nassau Coliseum and will probably leave once their lease expires in 2015. Owner Charles Wang hasn’t denied the idea of moving out of New York state in general, but if they try to relocate within NY, Christopher Botta once again discusses Brooklyn’s soon-to-open Barclays Center as a likely destination.

Sharing a state-of-the-art building with the NBA’s Nets would be enticing and bring certain advantages, but it’s not necessarily a perfect fit, either.

But even Brooklyn is an imperfect solution for the Islanders. Barclays Center was designed as a showcase for the Nets, with ideal sight lines for basketball. Capacity for hockey at Barclays Center also is just 14,500, which would make it the smallest arena in the NHL.

Brooklyn does offer advantages, though. Unlike the Coliseum, fans can reach Barclays Center via mass transit. As one of New York’s five boroughs, Brooklyn also would ignite increased Manhattan media attention.

That’s an interesting, abbreviated pros/cons list. Perhaps the Islanders could alleviate the smaller seating concerns by charging more for tickets in a fairly wealthy area?

In their under-the-radar way, the Islanders are slowly crawling their way back to respectability despite playing in the tough Atlantic Division. Getting a more suitable arena in a nice market might help them compete in attracting top-tier free agents in the future. Whether Brooklyn ends up being that location remains to be seen, but after shooting down the idea before, Gary Bettman even warmed up to the idea – a bit.

“I’m not sure yet,” Bettman said. “It’s something we’d have to look at.”

  1. mrpigs - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    NO ONE WANTS YOU ON LONG ISLAND!!!! Leave ya kooks!

    -massapequa park ranger fan

    • bcisleman - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Why is it that Ranger fans feel the need to write foolish posts about the Islanders and the arena situation? You do know that your organization very badly wants the Islanders to stay, right?

      • richter35lundqvist30 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        Don’t lump all Ranger fans in with that fist pumper from Massapequa. Any real Rangers fan values the NYR-NYI rivalry and doesn’t want to see the Isles go. I feel bad for fans of teams without a legitimate rival, it adds tons of excitement to the games they play each other. Aside from that, we need as much income and as we can get on Long Island you fool, running the only team out of town isn’t the way to do it.

      • richter35lundqvist30 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        Don’t lump all Ranger fans in with this fist pumper from Massapequa. Any real Rangers fan values the NYR-NYI rivalry and doesn’t want to see the Isles go. I feel bad for fans of teams without a legitimate rival, it adds tons of excitement to the games they play each other. Aside from that, we need as much income and as we can get on Long Island you fool, running the only team out of town isn’t the way to do it.

      • bcisleman - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM

        Sorry. Should’ve included word “many”.

    • jrcan13 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Kooks?

      Really?

  2. killerpgh - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I thought I saw a seating chart (maybe for the pre season game) and it looked bad. If I remember correctly one end was “normal” and they other had sections that blacked out or limited view due to the angle if the seat to the goal. Another question is did they build the arena with the refrigeration lines in the floor or are they going with an external system similar to what the NHL uses for the out door games? If they went the extra cost for the built in system than you would think they would have thought about sight lines and seating.

  3. mrpigs - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    It’s a horse shoe seat design, an NHL ice sheet has no business in there permanently at the moment, I also believe the floor wasn’t constructed with the above mention ice technology. Just an all and all bad fit except for the physical location.

  4. bcisleman - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    What does “gains steam” mean? The substance of the article seems to be that Chris Botta wrote an article. As we are all PAINFULLY aware, Chris no longer enjoys the confidence of the Islander organization. He and his followers value his views greatly, but those views do not reflect the thinking of the Islander organization which will decide its own future.

    There is some buzz about the Barclay arena simply because it is a brand new EXISTING facility and is not under the purview of the incompetent and corrupt hacks who run the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County. That doesn’t mean that Wang and his people will settle on Barclay’s as a new home for the Islanders.

    Wang’s first choice was always to rebuild or renovate in Uniondale. He bought the adjacent Marriott Hotel and adjoining properties with that in mind. Unfortunately, the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County have not proven reliable partners.

    At present, Barclay’s is the only existing alternative. Many of the current fanbase would balk at traveling into Brooklyn to watch hockey. Add in that Barclay’s lacks adequate seating and there is a built in handicap for a team that desperately needs to rebuild its fanbase.

    The most likely alternative–and one that has been discussed before–is Queens. Mayor Bloomberg and Queens business and political leaders have expressed interest in moving the Islanders in to play alongside the Mets. This would require building an arena on the old Shea site and a parking garage to serve both CitiField and the Islanders’ arena.

    Like Uniondale, Queens is a place where Long Islanders are used to going to to attend sporting events. Like Brooklyn, Queens has all the mass transit connections that Uniondale lacks. It is also much closer to Long Island fans than Barclay’s. To add a feel-good sweetener, Bill Shea was the prime mover and shaker behind both Shea Stadium and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

    Many–including Islander fans–like to abuse Charles Wang. He was the one person who was willing to step forward and save the team in 2000 after it had been run into the ground. And he is the one person who is keeping the team in NY now. If he were to decide to sell the team, it is unclear who would step forward to keep the team here. As long as he owns the team, it will stay in the NY area where it belongs. Hopefully he finds a workable solution to keep the team in NY.

  5. Bliss Fortress - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    “With the 1st pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Las Vegas Islanders select Nathan Mackinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads”.

    • bcisleman - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      I realize that this is an attempt at humor BUT (1) the Isles lease runs through the end of the 2014-15 season and they will be going nowhere before then (2) there is no Las Vegas arena at present and (3) the Islanders’ chances at picking #1 are probably going to be no different than anyone else’s as there may well not even be a 2012-13 season.

  6. Bliss Fortress - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Haha yeah, keyword ‘attempt’. True about the lease and true about arena in Vegas not being ready. Just more or less seeing if anyone even cares about Isles and situation they are facing. Do feel bad for the fans and Wang, they deserve better. Need Derek King and Kasparaitus to ride in on a golden horse and save the day.

    • RoseTintedVisor - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      Yes, we care. It sucks being a fan of a team with an uncertain future. BC, as Ive said on twitter, Wang isnt the good guy you make him out to be.

      • jl9830 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        How is Wang bad either? You understand he loses $20M a year on the Islanders and still hasn’t given up the search. Any other owner would have just given up and ensured that the Islanders would leave in 2015.

        In the past, he has offered to build the new arena with his own money, but was rebuffed by Nassau County politicians. In a revised plan that would require a minor assistance from the County government, the town didn’t want to pay the extra tax. So I ask you again, what exactly would you like Wang to do differently?

        As a huge Islanders fan, I can’t really blame Wang considering he has stood by us more than any other owner would have, at great personal expense.

      • bcisleman - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        Never said he was a saint and, as I have repeatedly acknowledged on twitter, he’s made some mistakes. Doesn’t change the facts. He DID save the team in 2000 and he IS the only thing keeping the team in NY.

  7. tampabayirish - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    It would be cool to have an NHL team in Las Vegas. I am not sure if the local market would be that into hockey but it would give the rest of us another reason to visit Sin City. Go see your hometown team play the Vegas Desert Rats and stay and gamble for a couple of days.

    • creasemasta41 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:50 AM

      you cant keep a team in vegas without local interest, and despite the big growth in youth hockey there still isn’t a market for hockey yet. Maybe 10-15 years down the road if vegas hockey keeps growing like it is. But until then i doubt its a viable option. The wranglers, an echl team, gets fans but very rarely sells out. If a echl team has a tough time selling out an arena of maybe 5000 then good luck trying to get 18000 fans, even if it is in the nhl

    • comeonnowguys - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      I’d rather have the NHL continue to try to stay in Phoenix than just put team in LV “just cuz.”

      Actually, I’m not sure a team in either market does the league any good, so…

      They shouldn’t be trying to forcefeed hockey below the 37th parallel in markets with little demand when they have markets like southern Ontario and Quebec that could support it better.

      Hell, if we’re throwing out Las Vegas, why not Seattle? Kansas City? Milwaukee?

  8. bleed4philly - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Just go to Quebec city, maybe somebody will care about you.

    • bcisleman - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      If the Isles pass Philly in the standings this season–if there is a season–will anyone care if the Flyers go to QC?

  9. charleslouis99 - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    they could always sell seats in the rafters lol.

  10. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    2015-16 season, just in time for Bettman to think hockey can work in Atlanta for a 3rd time, or Phoenix a 2nd time..,

    Bring back the Whale!!

  11. 50milessouthofdetroit - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    if the team leaves long island, and doesn’t relocate to another island, shouldn’t they change their name from “islanders”?

    • jl9830 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Too much history IMO to change that name. Greatest American dynasty in hockey history!

  12. canuckinamerica - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Move them to Phoenix. Berryman probably figures there is room for a second team in Glendale. OK…..being facetious here. Let’s stop the “NHL charade” and either put hockey where it is wanted, or contract. Which might certainly happen after this next CBA.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      The NHLPA won’t allow any team to contract. They are digging in with Fehr in this negotiations. No way would he allow 50 jobs (max number of contracts allowed) to be contracted. If anything the NHL will expand by 2 teams giving each division 8 teams and the NHLPA another 100 possible jobs.

    • bcisleman - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      Isles never had any problems filling seats in the ’70s and ’80s. Snow is putting together a team that will be very special very soon. It will serve the hacks running Hempstead and Nassau County to watch the Isles flourishing in Queens while the NVMC sits empty and central Nassau goes down the tubes.

  13. jrcan13 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Bad sight lines and seats only 14k – might as well move it to Edmonton

  14. adirondack77 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    There is much more to this story going om behind the scenes. Bettman and Wang have already set plans in motion beyond 2015. They likely include at least a temporary stay in Brooklyn because it is highly unlikely the league would let this former dynasty leave NY.

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