Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New York Islanders Moving to BK by 2015

By Jason Klau

Admittedly I may be writing this article a little bit prematurely, but when news of a press conference at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, being attended by Islanders owner Charles Wang, Barclays Center Developer Bruce Ratner, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, more Islanders staff and even Nets CEO Brett Yormark gets scheduled, one can only assume it means one thing. The New York Islanders are leaving behind the crumbling Nassau Coliseum and heading for greener (well, closer-to-Manhattan-er) pastures.

Yes, be prepared. The Brooklyn Islanders are coming, and according to some sources, it will be as soon as 2015, when the lease with the Nassau Coliseum expires. I am writing this article a couple of hours before the press conference is actually scheduled, so if for some unknown reason this doesn’t happen, my bad!

As seen here, there is one issue that the Islanders will have to face. Limited seating, although that problem surely hasn’t been an issue in their current arena, the 14,500 capacity for hockey at the Barclays center would be more than enough to pack in their usual crowd.

But what the Barclays Center does for the Islanders is something they couldn’t have before, excitement, and having people talking about their franchise. Having only made the playoffs once since the lockout in '05, one could understand why the Islanders haven’t gained much attention. Third out of three in their market, the Islanders have always seemed to struggle, even with some of the better young players in the game, like John Tavares.

But now, the Islanders can tap into a whole new market, Brooklyn hipsters. I wonder how often we’ll hear the phrase “I liked the Islanders BEFORE it was cool.” And who knows maybe Jay-Z can do some PR, or even become part owner. Like with the Nets, it will surely bring in some big time attention, and sell some tickets.

Regardless, with a more accessible, modern arena, in a stronger, more popular market, the Islanders, and hockey, have struck gold on this deal. Hopefully, for their sake, some renovations to the brand new arena will be in store. Better seating for hockey, and hockey ready facilities would be nice. But however the rest of this plays out, with the exception of the move not happening, the Islanders are in a better scenario than they are now. With a current arena crumbling, it has been imperative, for years, that the Islanders find a new home. It looks like they have finally found it.

Which arena would you rather rock out in? 2015 can't come soon enough for the Islanders. That is, assuming the NHL Lockout ever ends!

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