By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
October 26, 2012
After several failed attempts to build a new arena in Nassau County, the New York Islanders finally are on the move. The Islanders will relocate to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a 25-year agreement that begins when the team’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum lease expires in 2015. Islanders owner Charles Wang had made it clear his team wouldn’t remain at the facility beyond the terms of their lease, and had explored moving the team to either Kansas City and Quebec City. The Islanders will keep their name and logo at the insistence of the NHL.
While Barclays Center seats 18,000 for basketball games, it can only accommodate 14,500 for hockey, making it the smallest venue in the NHL. Still, having a second professional team is important for the buildings economics. It also sets up an interesting crosstown rivalry with Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. Both Barclays and MSG now have an NBA and NHL team. We’ll see which borough, Brooklyn or Manhattan, wins a title first.