Everyone is flocking to the sparkling new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and now you can add locked out hockey franchises to that list.
The New York Islanders will move to the billion-dollar arena at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues which now houses the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
“Hello Brooklyn!” Islanders owner Charles E. Wang said during the announcement at a Wednesday press conference at the arena.
The Islanders will relocate from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale ahead of the 2015-16 season. The NHL approved a 25-year agreement between Wang and Barclays Center owner Bruce Ratner. The move was first reported by the Associated Press and the New York Times.
Unlike the Nets, the Islanders would keep their New York name, the Times reports, but adding a second team to the new arena would be a major win for Ratner.
“Brooklyn is big time and now we have the big-league sports to prove it,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday.
The Islanders have called Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home since it opened in 1972, but the arena is outdated and no longer adequate to house an NHL franchise. Earlier this month, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 16 violations of workplace health and safety standards, the AP reports.
The move west to Brooklyn will force the team’s core fanbase to commute to the stadium primarily through public transportation — a concern that led NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to question the prospect of such a move in April. Despite the relocation, the Islanders will still technically remain on Long Island, and their new home is considerably more accessible via the subway and the Long Island Rail Road.
Now, who knows someone with a Zamboni that can make herringbone-patterned ice?