The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will soon become the home of the New York Islanders.
The Islanders, who currently play in Long Island, have signed a 25-year lease with the Brooklyn arena that will start in 2015. The New York Post reports that the NHL team will not change its name to the Brooklyn Islanders like the New Jersey Nets did when they moved into the Brooklyn arena this year.
Mayor Bloomberg said: “Go Brooklyn, go Islanders! The whole world knows Brooklyn is big time and now we have the big league sports to prove it.”
The Islanders have been looking for a new home for several years. Last year, Nassau County voters rejected a $400 million proposal to restore the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders will remain in the Long Island arena until after the 2014-15 season.
According to the NY Post, the 2015 season will mark a reunion between the Nets and the Islanders. The Nets used to play at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with the Islanders in the 1970s.
The Islanders will get a nice new facility for the 2015 season but it will also be the smallest in the NHL. The Barclays Center will have 14,500 seats for hockey games (it has 17,732 seats for the NBA). The smallest arena currently in the NHL is the MTC Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which can seat 15,015.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said:
“It [a smaller arena] is not an issue. Winnipeg is doing quite well in a building about the same size.”
It will be a few years before the Islanders skate in the Barclays Center but the Brooklyn arena is getting ready to host its first hockey game. This January the Dynamo Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League will play a few games at the Barclays Center.
It could be one of the few professional hockey games played in the United States this year since the NHL is getting dangerously close to cancelling this year’s season.