Barclays Gets Islanders
The team has signed a 25-year agreement and will begin playing in the just-opened arena for the 2015-16 season.
“We have tried very hard to keep the Islanders in their original home in Long Island,” team owner Charles Wang said at a press conference, according to the New York Times. “Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve that dream. Our goal was always to have the Islanders play in a local world-class facility that contains the amenities our fans deserve.”
Barclays is already home to pro basketball’s Brooklyn Nets, which migrated from New Jersey. The Brooklyn arena, which has already seen its share of marquee concert events, will host Islanders for about 40 home games annually, with roughly the same number of nights filled with NBA action.
Meanwhile, New Jersey will have two venues with relatively open calendars – East Rutherford’s Izod Center and Newark’s Prudential Center. The Islanders’ former home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, which opened in 1972, will be wide open. The team is said to be keeping New York in its name.
Barclays was not designed for a hockey rink, and the capacity will be reduced 3,500 seats from basketball games, according to the Times. Officials said the 14,500 capacity will not be an issue; Nassau had a hockey capacity of 16,250 but average attendance of 13,191.
Meanwhile, the move will make the Islanders cooler, according to the Twitterverse. Brooklyn is the new destination for hipsters, and the #HockeyinBrooklyn hashtag was rife with references to plaid shirts for jerseys, pork pie hats instead of helmets, and PBR tall-boys now served at the concession stands.