The New York Islanders are Brooklyn-bound as the pro hockey team announced Wednesday it will be leaving the Nassau Coliseum and signing a 25-year lease at the Barclays Center, starting with the 2015 season. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Barclays Center will soon be home to two major professional sports teams. The Brooklyn Nets will start their season next week and the New York Islanders will play there beginning in 2015.
The hockey franchise announced its big move at the arena Wednesday.
"When the New York Islanders came into existence in 1972, they shared the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with the New York Nets," said Islanders owner Charles Wang. "And this announcement today reunites these two franchises."
Wang had been pushing for years for a new facility to replace the crumbling Nassau Coliseum on Long Island but he got nowhere. So he's turned to Brooklyn's new arena. He said Barclays Center has all the amenities he's looking for, and it keeps the team in New York.
Barclays will seat just 14,500 hockey fans, making it the smallest arena in the league. While there are plans to add more seating, NHL officials said it's not a big issue.
"If you walk the concourses and you see the bowl, the intimacy of this building is going to make watching hockey here a terrific experience," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The team will stay known as the New York Islanders.
"The Islanders are bringing their own silverware, incidentally, so I'll save you the question," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Four Stanley Cup championships, to be exact. They haven't won one since the dynasty of the early '80s but Brooklyn, I'm sure, is going to help them get their mojo back."
"My vision was a basketball team. I never envisioned a hockey team," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "To have these two teams headquarted in Brooklyn, it's fabulous."
The reaction from Brooklynites?.
'It's sweet," said one resident. "I live down the street. Are they playing here at Barclays? Hey, great. I'll have to catch some games."
"I'm a Rangers fan, so this is not going to have an impact on me," said another. "But the Islanders, I have respect for them and I hope they do good too."
"It's going to be a great addition to Brooklyn and a great addition to the city," said a third.
While the Islanders won't be playing here until 2015, Barclays Center officials say tickets for that season are already available on their website.