Speculation the Islanders could move to Brooklyn intensified recently after the team announced it would play a preseason game at the new Barclays Center on Oct. 2.
Today, WFAN’s BD Gallof is reporting that the arena, originally built for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, is pushing hard for the hockey team to make it home as well.
According to sources, including one within the NHL and another with knowledge of the Barclays Center, the venue is making an “aggressive sales pitch.” In addition, the league source said “the chances of the New York Islanders to Brooklyn are actually pretty good.” The preseason game, sources said, is being viewed as a chance for [team owner Charles] Wang to get a sense of what life would be like in Brooklyn.
Earlier this week it was reported that the Islanders would have a tough time moving to Brooklyn as the Rangers would claim territorial rights. However, an NHL source told Gallof, “99 percent certain the Isles wouldn’t have to pay the Rangers a dime if they moved to Brooklyn or Queens… There is no fee, but the Rangers wouldn’t be happy about it. But there’s not much they could do.”
The Islanders’ lease at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum expires after the 2014-15 season.
The Barclays Center isn’t an ideal NHL venue; it will only seat 14,500 for hockey, which would make it the smallest building in the league. However, if the Islanders can fill the place, including luxury suites, it’s better than what they’ve got now.