Ice to meet you, Brooklyn!
The borough will have its first face-off with big league hockey when the Islanders play a preseason game at the Barclays Center on Sept. 21, team officials announced on Tuesday.
The club, which is slated to relocate to the Rust Bowl on Atlantic Avenue in 2015, will enjoy a Brooklyn debut by taking the ice for a 7 pm match against the hated New Jersey Devils.
Alas, the game is just a one-timer until the Islanders formally move to Brooklyn in two years — but it’s a chance to win fans on the western-most tip of Long Island, team officials say.
“I’m excited for our fans to bring that energy and have the ability to enjoy an Islanders game while taking advantage of the world class amenities at Barclays Center, that stand above and beyond what any other arena provides,” said the aptly named Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “This preseason game will be their first opportunity to do so.”
The Islanders and team owner Charles Wang are happy to make a breakaway from the asbestos-riddled Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and enthusiastic about their new digs at the Barclays Center, which will be the smallest arena in the National Hockey League, accommodating just 14,500 fans in a horseshoe-style configuration without seats behind one goal.
And Barclays Center brass is thrilled to find a new roommate for the Nets, a basketball team that debuted at the arena this season.
“There’s a lot of excitement about professional hockey bound for Brooklyn, where the Islanders have a terrific opportunity to grow their fan base and build their brand,” said arena chief executive officer Brett Yormark.
A preseason game planned for the arena last fall was cancelled due to an NHL lock-out.
Tickets for the exhibition go on sale on April 17 at 10 am.