Islanders star John Tavares and a rendering of the Barclays Center
Despite previous reports that the redesigned Barclays Center would be too small to house a professional hockey team, stadium officials are reversing course — just as the New York Islanders appear closer to skating away from Nassau County, Brooklyn Paper reported.
The forthcoming home for the Nets basketball team had originally intended to be built for hockey, too — as are most basketball stadiums in the country — but because of financing difficulties that limited the size of the structure, Forest City Ratner officials indicated that it would be too small to house a professional hockey team in April. Instead, the arena would host a handful of collegiate hockey games.
But now Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said he would be open to “explore hockey opportunities.” With a regulation-size hockey rink the stadium’s seating capacity would be reduced to just 14,500 people for hockey games, by far the smallest in the National Hockey League. But because Nassau residents shot down Islanders owner Charles Wang’s latest proposal for a new stadium for the team, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and others are floating around the idea that the team should move west along the island, to Brooklyn, when its lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015. “Since we’re technically still on Long Island, they can call themselves the ‘Brooklyn Islanders,'” Markowitz said.
Though an unlikely outcome, moving the Islanders to Brooklyn would generate additional, unplanned for revenue for Bruce Ratner to complete the 16 other structures that comprise the Atlantic Yards. [Brooklyn Paper]