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BREAKING: Islanders moving to Brooklyn

Oct 24, 2012, 10:49 AM EDT

Barclays Center Getty Images

Say hello to the Brooklyn Islanders. Or maybe it’ll be the New York Islanders that play in Brooklyn. (Update: It will still be the New York Islanders.)

Regardless, the Islanders are moving to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season and beyond. The club will make the announcement this afternoon at the Barclays Center.

It’s an announcement many didn’t expect to happen so soon. The Isles’ lease at the aging Nassau Coliseum doesn’t expire until the end of the 2014-15 season; however, after trying to get a new arena built for years, apparently owner Charles Wang has decided to go with Plan B.

The Islanders’ name and logo will remain unchanged.

As it currently exists, the Barclays Center is not an ideal NHL venue. It was built for basketball and is now home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Its capacity for hockey is just 14,500, which would make it the smallest venue in the NHL.

Whether anything can be done to make the building more hockey friendly isn’t clear. Its horseshoe seating configuration would certainly make it unique.

Attending today’s announcement will be Wang, Barclays Center majority owner Bruce Ratner, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz, Islanders general manager Garth Snow, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark.

Ratner has aggressively courted the Islanders to make Barclays Center their new home.

What does it mean for the team? Fans will hope it’s a return to the glory years of the 1970s and 1980s — the club won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. But since 1988, the Isles have missed the playoffs in 16 of 23 seasons and advanced past the first round just once.

The Islanders had the lowest payroll in the NHL last season, according to CapGeek.

  1. tmoore4075 - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Not totally surprised. They needed a new place and couldn’t get it done in Nassau. Better than totally leaving NY though.

  2. Eberwizzle - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    It’s about time

  3. oquintero99 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Wow. Wasn’t expecting this to happen so soon.

  4. steeeve718 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Works for me. Keep those punks within spitting distance of the Rangers.

  5. sjsharks66 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Would rather this say BREAKING lockout over.
    Good for the islanders though. Maybe a new change in location will help the fan base!

  6. islesjb - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Goodbye Nassau Masoleum. I have enjoyed the countless games that I’ve gone to there and will say that it is a great place to watch a hockey game between the crowd noise (when they actually fill the building) and the sight-lines and the overall atmosphere. Having said that, it was holding the franchise back. In addition to being hard for fans to access, it was one of the things that makes free agents reluctant or unwilling to sign with the Islanders.
    I’m hoping this can be some what of an energizer for the franchise, much like Nets are experiencing with the move from Jersey to Brooklyn.

    And before everyone starts up with the, “they have to change their name now” comments, Brooklyn is borough of NYC but a county of Long Island so they can remain the Islanders. May become the Brooklyn Islanders.

    Sorry for all the Isles fans who actually live on Long Island and are used to the stadium being just a short drive away; especially those who lived through the dynasty years. It’s a shame that Long Island politicians completely drop the ball on this one. It should have never gotten to this point.

  7. phipfwe76 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I just don’t see it working out. Brooklyn couldn’t even support an FHL team, and this arena isn’t the least bit fit for hockey. I wish them the best though.

    • islesjb - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      They have a few years to renovate. Isles have to honor their lease at the Nassau Coliseum until 2015

      • bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        Suspect that now that the Isles are committed, they will have the leverage to get the arena renovated. And Brooklyn will not have to support the Isles on its own. The core of the fanbase will still be on Long Island.

      • phipfwe76 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        The only issue is they can only renovate during the summer. And that will cancel out some summer events. And we’re not talking about minor tweaks. They need to find a way to basically stretch the floor plan quite a bit.

      • bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        Yes, but remember they do not start playing there until the 2015-16 season…so they have plenty of time.

  8. klink6224 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    14,500? The Devils might have a shot at selling out each night with only that many seats. Though I like that the Flyers, Devils, Rangers and now “Brooklyn” will be much closer to go see more games for this Central Jersey guy.

  9. thecheeman - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    I don’t know how long the lease is for, but it seems very odd for any team owner to accept a situation where they don’t own the arena, doesn’t it?

    If this was say a five-year lease, maybe that puts pressure on Long Island politicians to make the mass transit changes and build a new arena with an agreement to bring them back in a decade or so. It seems untenable in modern sports for any owner to happily reside long-term in a building they don’t own.

    Having said this Brooklyn and NHL hockey are a fantastic combination. Good move for the NHL in a year desperate for anything positive.

    • bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Would not be surprised to see Wang become part owner as part of this deal.

    • bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      As you probably already know, they signed a 25 year lease. Uniondale is history.

  10. bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    The ideal resolution would have been a major renovation of NVMC where so much hockey history took place in the 1980s. Second choice would have been an arena alongside CitiField. Barclay’s is the third choice but at least the team’s future in NY is secure. Finally Isles fans will be able to safely ignore all the KC, Seattle or Quebec Islander talk. And maybe Garth can land some good free agents.

  11. jkay1818 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Good for them to get out of that arena, but, I just dont see this working. Most of the boroughs are NYR fans. Barclay’s is going to be an absolute schlepp for fans on LI living on nassau and suffolk. They couldnt even sell out playing in a convenient arena to attend. There was a cheap parking lot as opposed to MSG and MSG has the LIRR, Metro north not far, and major subway and bus lines. I just can’t see islander fans in the cold months taking the railroad to and from games when they had trouble filling a building that was a 5-15 min drive for most and cheap parking.
    A friends father in law is a long time season ticket holder and he already said he’s out, due to the commute.

  12. philk0731 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Great, now they can stink in Brooklyn too…GO RANGERS!!!

  13. jkay1818 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    in addition, fans who wanted to drive from LI for 7pm games would have to leave their houses around 4pm. parking is slim to none around atlantic, and the lots will be 8x the amount of nassau col…Driving sounds painful, sitting on the LIE to the BQE which is always a zoo and a parking lot from 4-7pm everynight with the work commute.

    • gammagammahey - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Driving to the arena really isn’t an option at all. If fans are coming from LI, they should count on taking public transportation, at least from Jamaica.

  14. theawesomersfranchise - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    14,500 isn’t so bad for a team that averaged just under 13,191 per game last year, The Jets in Winnipeg averaged 15,004 last season and that’s a constant stream of sellouts. The “Islanders” can make this work in the short term.

  15. sdelmonte - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Well, this is good for me since it’s a lot easier for me to get to the Brooklyn site than the Nassau site. But it will alienate the team’s LI-based fans, and probably not do a thing to cut into the large Rangers fan base that dominates the city.

    At least LI fans can get to the new place using LIRR to Brooklyn. Because they aren’t going to want to drive, I am sure.

    In the end, though, a new arena isn’t going to fix a team that has been the biggest laughingstock in the New York area for a very long time now. I don’t know what will, short of new ownership and a creative buyout of diPietro’s albatross contract.

  16. supercoop8 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    The Brooklyn Peninsula-ers

  17. nyrangers1994 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Hail skinny jeans, bow ties, suspenders, high boots, and waxed moustache’s!! Hipsters lead the way, and all others follow.

    • eastcoastcynic - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      As a hockey fan and a Ranger fan who wears skinny jeans, I agree. I suspect they’ll be an easier ticket than the Rangers which is good if you just love the sport in general and wanna see it live even if the enemy is hosting:).

      • mgp1219 - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        I hope you are a woman or justin beiber when you admit to wearing skinny jeans.

      • eastcoastcynic - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        mgp, was Joey Ramone a woman? Richard Hell? Iggy Pop? Are some of us that closed minded????

      • mgp1219 - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        are you a rock star or a wannabe?

      • nyrangers1994 - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Hopefully we both make it to a game or two this season, cheers!

  18. nepo784 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    No biggie. They’ll have a year to figure out as to how to make that arena hockey accessible. Because they damn well aren’t playing hockey this year

  19. sufferingphilsfan - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    They are definitely going to have to change the logo…maybe an outline of the brooklyn bridge in the background instead of long island…

    • eastcoastcynic - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      And add a kid with a baseball cap turned sideways.

    • mgp1219 - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      maybe just a mass of grafitti…

  20. quizguy66 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I feel awful for the fans on Long Island who basically are losing their team. They’ll only be able to go see their team on the weekends at best.

    Wonder if they’ll remove every possible Long Island identity reference like they did with the Nets.

    Glad they aren’t moving out of the vicinity but hate it for fans that have suffered a lot of lean years.


    • thecheeman - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Let’s not be overdramatic here. If Long Island residents who love the Rangers can take a train to MSG, Islanders fans can take a train to Brooklyn. Islanders fans have two years to become familiar with the train lines, and if they manage to stumble into a winner in the meantime, I imagine they will.

  21. jtblueshirt - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Barclays’ is an eyesore on the outside and apparently will now be on the inside as well. The least they could do is change the team name to something catchy. Gowanus Toxins might work. At least Brooklyn will now get the Rangers, Pens, Flyers & Devils 4 times each per season.

  22. coug27 - Oct 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    What IS Gary Bettman thinking with moving the Islanders? Don’t you have more pressing matters like getting the NHL up and running instead of worrying about moving a team in 3 years from now? Now that you have just created more job loses on Long Island (by the thousands) losing all the Long Island fans and season ticket holders including corporate ticket holders. Demographically who in Brooklyn watches hockey let alone Islander games. Most city residents are DIE HARD Rangers fans. Gary Bettman needs to step down and lets get someone who can do the job right. Gary has been too quick to give up on cancelling seasons. Jeremy Roenick who be a great commisioner or the Great One Wayne Gretzky. Oh and by the way didn’t Mr. Bettman recently disrespect the Gretzky (The face of Hockey) with something in the regards of the All-Star Game. When is enough is enough, This may be the first team to fold in the NHL in the future. I’m sooo disappointed in the NHL with this decision. Good Luck NY Islanders and I speak for Islanders fans we will miss you !!!!

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      I’m not quit catching how its Bettman’s fault the OWNER of the Islanders is moving the team…

      • coug27 - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        Nhl does have a say in in where a team is located because they also make revenue. Just lik if you bought a McDonalds even though you own it they decide where it goes.

  23. ragsrus - Oct 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    IslesJB….Brooklyn is a county (kings) and a borough of NYC. It has nothing to do with LI. Same with Queens…

    • coug27 - Oct 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      if you look on a LI map they are physically on Long Island

    • mazblast - Oct 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Try driving from the part of Long Island that is outside the city limits (Nassau and Suffolk counties) to somewhere that is not on Long Island without going through Queens County and/or Kings County, both of which are geographically part of “Lon Gisland”.

  24. libraves99 - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Nassau county politian’s sucks

  25. kitshky - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Right now, somewhere in Williamsburg … a hipster just rolled his eyes and said “pfft I like the Islanders old stuff better”.

  26. flyeredup - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Maybe they can crack the 6,000 fan barrier in Brooklyn. The Ice Landers only sell out when Philly, Rangers, Penguins come to town.

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