Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Islander Fans Assemble At Barclays Center For Brooklyn's First NHL Game In History

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TWC News: Islander Fans Assemble At Barclays Center For Brooklyn's First NHL Game In History
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The New York Islanders played their first game at the Barclays Center Saturday, and while the game didn't end how fans hoped, it did give them a chance to check out what will soon be their team's home ice. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.

Hockey has come to Brooklyn.

"I think this is a fantastic thing for Brooklyn," said a fan.

Brooklyn's first National Hockey League game in history drew nearly a full house, more Islander fans by far and even a few reluctant about the team's move to Brooklyn.

"I'm a little sad," said one fan. "I mean, it's the friendly confines. It's like the Cubs leaving Wrigley or the Sox leaving Fenway. It's part of the culture and their history. To them, to move to New York City, it loses a little bit of that Islander edge to it so to speak."

The move certainly didn't help the Islanders on the ice. They lost to the Devils 3-0.

"We lost tonight, but you know what? It's preseason, not a big deal. It is what it is and go Islanders. Let's go Islanders," said a fan.

Barclays management chose to focus on the positive as well.

"At the the end of the day, this is a preseason game we're at right now. This game doesn't even mean anything, and they're here, and that's a statement in itself," said Barclays Center Chief Marketing Officer Fred Mangione.

Some local businesses like it too.

"It brings more business to the area, 'cause it brings more people, and more people from different areas come to this neighborhood and discover new things so they come back," said Reginald Dumornay from Skilz Hair Salon.

Still, not everyone has seen a boost to their bottom line.

"From the Nets, the experience we had, it's not very favorable, so for the Islanders, we'll just keep our fingers crossed," said Jude Nwaduoku from The Cake Ambiance.

The Islanders won't officially arrive for two more years, but when they do, Barclays is confident their fans will follow.

"We moved the Nets over, and we knew that the people from Jersey probably weren't gonna follow. This is a different story. It's closer, they have a history. Hockey fans are a different kind of fan than a basketball fan, and they have a lot of die-hard fans," Mangione said.

Maybe the team will get a lot of new fans, as 25 percent of tickets purchased for Saturday's game went to Brooklynites.

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