It was officially announced yesterday that the New York Islanders are leaving Nassau County and moving to the brand spanking new Barclays Center in Brooklyn when their lease expires at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the only home the club has ever known since its inception in 1972, at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.
Unlike the NBA’s Nets, who are the Barclays Center's primary tenant, the club will be keeping its original name and not replacing New York with Brooklyn.
The move puts out one fire for the NHL in a turbulent offseason as the Islanders have signed a twenty-five year lease to play in Brooklyn after failing for many years to get a new arena built in Nassau County or elsewhere on Long Island. This puts an end to any speculation (which was silly to begin with) of the team moving out of the lucrative metro New York City market and winding up in places like Kansas City or Quebec.
Barclays Center currently seats 14,500 for hockey which would be the smallest capacity in the NHL behind Winnipeg’s 15,004 seat MTS Centre. It has been speculated that up to 1,000 seats can be added for Islander games. It is a shame the original design of the Barclays Center, which accommodated a hockey team from the beginning, was scrapped in favor of the final more basketball-friendly layout.
Current Islander season ticket holders will have first rights to purchase season tickets in Brooklyn.
Congratulations to the Islanders and their fans on the big news. Hopefully, this leads to bigger and better things for the franchise.