Brooklyn arena “could easily support a hockey team,” says owner

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Not for the first time, the owner of the brand new Barclays Center expressed his desire for an NHL team, possibly the New York Islanders, to move to Brooklyn and play in his arena.

“(Barclays Center) was made for hockey and basketball,” Bruce Ratner told the Associated Press today. “It could easily support a hockey team.”

For now, it’s only slated to support basketball. The NBA’s Nets will call it home next season.

And whether it was “made for hockey” is debatable. The capacity for basketball is 18,103; for hockey it’s just 14,500, which would make it the smallest in the NHL.

If Ratner had been targeting a hockey tenant before the Barclays Center was built, wouldn’t he have made it more NHL-friendly?

The Islanders, of course, still don’t have a place to play past 2015 when their lease expires at obsolete Nassau Coliseum.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman briefly addressed the Islanders-to-Brooklyn possibility last week.

“Barclays, I suppose on some level, is an option,” he said in a not-so-ringing endorsement, adding that it’s “not anywhere near” to the point where it’s the only option.

Regardless, it’s hard to see the Islanders moving somewhere like Quebec City or Seattle. The NHL really won’t want to leave that market. The Isles still get significantly higher local TV ratings than places like Florida, Phoenix and Columbus. And with a better building, and more importantly a better team, attendance would surely improve.