Islanders come to Brooklyn — and a hockey team too

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

They were cheering for the home team, but most of the fans were still visitors.

Barclays Center played host to its newest tenants — and Brooklyn’s newest professional sports team — for the Blue and White Scrimmage on July 8, an intra-squad exhibition featuring nearly all of the organization’s prospects. The logo at center ice said “New York Islanders in Brooklyn,” but there were plenty of Islanders in the stands, too — Long Islanders, that is.

More than 6,000 fans showed up to watch the good-natured contest, many of them bursting onto Atlantic Avenue from the Long Island Rail Road station beneath the arena to catch a glimpse of the future for a team that is no longer just their own.

“I have mixed feelings about new bandwagon fans,” said Kim Brooks of New Hyde Park, a lifelong Isles fan who was not in favor of the team moving to Brooklyn, but has already purchased tickets to 15 games for the 2015-16 season. “I was kind of pissed off with how many people decided to become fans last just year because the team was good all of a sudden, and that’s probably going to happen again now that they’re in Brooklyn.”

The suburban visitors did not waste much time in bringing the spirit of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the team’s old home rink, to Barclays Center.

Fans yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in unison after goals were scored, and they borrowed the tune of the familiar Spanish soccer chant “Ole, ole, ole, ole” to sing “Ho-Sang, Ho-Sang, Ho-Sang, Ho-Sang” in honor of Joshua Ho-Sang, one of the team’s top prospects and a soon-to-be fan favorite, who dazzled the home crowd with three assists. And, of course, they mercilessly booed a couple of fans in attendance wearing the colors of their hated rival, the New York Rangers.

Many of the fans in attendance were making their first trek to the team’s new home, and even though many were still stewing over the relocation, the impressive new facilities may yet win them over.

“I was upset by the move,“ admitted Nick Monforte of West Hempstead. “But I’m keeping an open mind. I think being in Brooklyn will make the team more attractive to good players.”

But the Islanders have always had fans outside of Long Island, like one born-and-bred Brooklyn resident who has bled blue and orange his entire life.

“It’s always been hard to find fellow fans in the area, but with the team doing so well the past few years, more fans have been coming out of the woodwork,” said Patrick Hickey, Jr., who did not go to the scrimmage but plans to attend as many games as he can once the season is underway. “Seeing the team in Brooklyn not only makes it easier to see them live, but it changes the whole dynamic of hockey in the borough. It’s going to be amazing.”

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Broadway Blue from Blue Heaven says:
Garbage franchise, with 3k frontrunning fans that will be moving to Seattle when their lease is up in 5 years. Stay in Long Island losers, you can't handle Brooklyn.
July 14, 2015, 9:58 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I think this is great...I'm jumping ship from Rangers (too boring and corporate) to the Islanders! I think they will be more popular than the Nets.
July 14, 2015, 11:21 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I'm very conflicted about the Isles coming to Brooklyn. I've been a fan since the 70s, when I wore Trottier's jersey in my neighborhood roller hockey league. My son is an Isles fan, and we've been trekking out to the Coliseum for games. Now, they'll be right in our backyard, at the one venue that I have no interest in supporting or visiting. In the spirit of father/son love, I'll probably have to go to the games here, but I hope they come in winning, to overcome my unwillingness to be under that bird's-nest roof.

And for the nay-sayers, let's not forget that the Isles are tied for the record for consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the post-expansion/modern era. Yes, we're entering year 32 of our dry-spell, but at least it's not 54 years.
July 14, 2015, 12:28 pm
Broadway Blue from Blue Heaven says:
Enjoy the empty arena Joey, you will be able to get good seats for $5 on stubhub to watch them finish last yet again. Just don't get too attached, they will be leaving in 5 years, so Barclays can bring in events that people will actually attend.
July 14, 2015, 12:35 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Broadway Blue --
What exactly is your definition of "finish last yet again"? Just making it to the playoffs means they were better than half the NHL. And then they won 3 out of 7 of the round 1 games.

You can talk smack, but don't say dumb things. Did Detroit, Ottawa and Vancouver also "finish last"?
July 14, 2015, 2:20 pm
Bones45 from LI says:
Rangers fans are such losers. Nice to see Broadway Blue confirming this.
July 14, 2015, 2:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unlike the Nets, the Islanders barely had any fan support back in Uniondale. However, that was mainly because of the many losing seasons that they had. At least the Nets actually had fans whether they were in East Rutherford or in Newark. Then again, if a team continues to bad while playing somewhere else, they will just be seen as the same team wearing a different uniform. In other words, it will be like putting lipstick on pig, because no matter how you dress up the pig, it will still be pig matter what it looks. On a related note of the Atlantic Yard or Pacific Park, I wonder if this is what James Caldwell, the former head of BUILD, meant when he said it will give him and his group jobs for supporting Ratner and having the arena by working at that hot dog cart right by the Atlantic Terminal Mall.
July 14, 2015, 2:49 pm
Mark from LI says:
Tal, you are completely out of touch. No one cared about the Nets in NJ. So much so, that they completely rebranded going to Brooklyn and no one said a peep. The passion of the aisles fanbase is so overwhelming that even the mere mention of changing colors was a huge outcry. Do some research before you comment.
July 14, 2015, 4:21 pm
Matt from LI says:
"Islanders had no fans on Long Island" posted under an article talking about how they got 6,000 fans for a prospect scrimmage in July, a large chunk of whom came from Long Island.

This must be that "hipster irony" I've heard so much about.
July 14, 2015, 4:28 pm
Jay from NJ says:
Been a fan for 20 years and usually only made it out to LI four or five times a year (the trek cost more than the ticket). Brooklyn has made the team more accessible to me (just recently became a season ticket holder) and fans well off the Island. And words I never heard uttered at NVMC that I heard at the Blue and White scrimmage? Gonna go to the bathroom real quick.
July 14, 2015, 6:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Matt, first of all, the Nets did have a big fan base when they were in NJ, and I know this from actually going to their games, but that's besides the point. However, the entire project was never about bringing a major professional sports team to Brooklyn, it was about a developer just wanting more land and using a team to get support from certain groups and politicians who would have opposed it if that was never the case, but don't let the facts get in your way. When you look at the entire project, you will see that the arena is really a small part of it and why Ratner needed 22 acres when the arena itself hardly takes up that amount of space. More importantly, why was it right for eminent domain and taxpayer dollars used for a project that doesn't even serve the public? For the record, I have done my research in this project from the beginning, and you can always read the blog known as the Atlantic Yards Report by Norman Oder to not only catch up on the entire process, but to know what really went on.
July 14, 2015, 6:36 pm
RangersSuck! from New York says:
Yea too bad the Isles signed a 25 year lease. In fact the New York RANGERS lease runs out in 13 years....sooooo Seattle may get a New York team after all. The Seattle Rangers? I LIKE the sound of that!!!!
July 14, 2015, 6:49 pm
Mark from LI says:

Nobody is disputing what went on with the Barclays development. I am just educating you to the fact that you cannot make such a false statement about the Isles having no fans in Uniondale while people cared for the Nets in Jersey. The NJ Nets had NO fanbase and even in their back to back finals years (2002,2003) only had less than 3,000 season ticket holders. It was a known fact that people went to Nets games to see the other team's stars. In fact, the Nets had a promotion where they gave out jerseys that can be turned inside out to reveal the other team.

They even started doing promotions where fans 18 and over can get their taxes done free with a ticket purchase.

Now please tell me with a straight face that anyone cared for the Nets in New Jersey????
July 14, 2015, 8:24 pm
Broadway Blue from Blue Heaven says:
Like any of the 5 Islander fans posting here would ever venture to Brooklyn unarmed. And yes, a team that has been perennial losers for close to 30 years can be described as finishing last yet again. 1993 ring a bell?
July 14, 2015, 10:17 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
B'way Blue? It's funny to see you actually write this stuff. As above, I'm one of the "5 Islander fans posting here" and I'm a Brooklyn boy, born and bred, and have never had reason to want any sort of weapon in my hometown. And no Ranger fan should EVER bring up our 32 year slump when the Rangers went 54 years between Cups. And in their whole history, the Rangers have the same number of Cups as the Isles (who, of course, won ours in four straight years), and only lost the Cup once, while the Rangers have lost 7 times. I respect your loyalty to your team, but stop embarrassing yourself spouting nonsense about the Isles.
July 14, 2015, 11:22 pm
Nick from Rockville Centre says:
If rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel, rooting for the Rangers is like rooting for Chrysler. They're corporate and evil but they never quite win car of the year
July 15, 2015, 6:53 am
Mark from LI says:
I have been to Brooklyn unarmed plenty of times. 1993 does ring a bell. The Islanders went to the conference finals in their 21st NHL season. There were 24 teams in the NHL that season. The Isles were more superior than 19 teams that year which is way more competitive than when there were 6 teams in the league between 1942 and 1967 and the Rangers could muster up 0 cups. But you have 3 cups from 1926-1940 which was pretty impressive in a 12 team league so you can hang your hat on that.
July 15, 2015, 12:30 pm
kendo from suburb of ny says:
Isles already had a brooklyn fanbase, not to the extent of the rangers of course, many Isles fans had already existed outside of suffolk and nassau counties. The whole "bandwagon" fan, including quotes from the story, is just overblown and cliched....last year in the coliseum and the team was playing great, of course the fans were going to come out. Really, the whole bandwagon argument is just an oversimplified taunt, especially from many rangers fans(and how do we know a lot of those rangers fans wouldn't be isles or devils fans if either of those teams have had the recent playoff success if we want to give the bandwagon theory any weight) who can't stand to have one iota of attention not on their team. Lets go I lend doars.
July 15, 2015, 2:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Matt, the fan base for the Nets when they were a NJ team may not have been that big, but they had a fan base, and you can't deny that. Most of the time, the local sports paper didn't even cover much of their games, and the NY Times now works in a FCR-owned building, and they can probably get kicked out if they ever said otherwise about him. Just because you don't hear much about a fan base in some area doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. By such logic, there is probably no fan base for the NY Liberty, a WNBA franchise, because they almost never get mentioned for some reason, but they do have a fan base nevertheless. Just be lucky that most Nets fans still living in NJ stayed with the Nets despite the move, but saying that there never was one when they were there for the last 30-40 years is a kick in the teeth to them and a total denial. Even the Devils have quite a large attendance and they are a NJ team, but that also comes from the fact that they did win championships recently and had a number of wining seasons, plus let's not forget that the Red Bulls had a very good season last year despite being a NJ team not to mention that both the Jets and Giants play in that state, though they are still called NY teams for some reason. In reality, Brooklyn along with pretty much the rest of the NY metro area will always remain dominant to the Knicks because most fans will never convert no matter how bad they do. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Nets fans right now are still from northern NJ and not from Brooklyn. Keep in mind that when Ratner bought the Nets, it was mainly to use as a way to get certain politicians and groups to support his project, and it was NEVER about having a professional sports team there knowing that he isn't much of a sports fan to begin with. As for the arena, I have been it, because I'm a still a Nets fan at heart but I ignore the Brooklyn part, and I could never understand why the lights on the upper level are so dim, but I'm glad I never bumped into anyone there even when carrying food. Overall, the Nets did have a big fan base in NJ, it's just the NY sportswriters don't like to admit that especially due to their stance on the move to Brooklyn.
July 15, 2015, 3:53 pm
Mike D from coney island says:
How can anyone really from Brooklyn support the Islanders ?They and their fans dont want anything to do with you, much less represent your home town. Take a second to read some of the hockey blogs and you will be amazed at the bias, ignorance and almost bigotry that is expressed. Its almost as if the Islanders moved to Calcutta.

They will be the first professional sports team to play in Brooklyn not to carry the Brooklyn name. Also they deliberately slice off Brooklyn and Queens on the map of their logo. They had a chance to change when moving to Brooklyn by showing the complete Island but they said "Hell No!". They dont even want to add a B on the uniform. No to Brooklyn on the name. No to Brooklyn on the map logo, No to a" B"on the uniform. Your hometown is being used like a ——, excluded distanced,at every opportunity to appease prejudice suburbanites under the guise of "tradition".
July 15, 2015, 6:25 pm
Tom S from CT says:
I find some of these comments quite funny. Being born and raised in Brooklyn and an Islander fan since the beginning of the franchise, I'm elated they are coming to Brooklyn. I no longer reside in Brooklyn, but now I will be able to attend more games because I work in Manhattan. My son lives in the city so we can both attend more frequently.

Really glad I'm rich, it's quite expense buying all the remaining tickets the other four Islander fans didn't purchase,lol.
July 15, 2015, 6:29 pm
Broadway Blue from Blue Heaven says:
Right on, Mike D. As if the 3k racist Long Island Islander fans would ever want anything to do with Brooklyn, much less embrace the borough. The few fans they have HATE Brooklyn, the city and everything about it. They will end up trading Tavares, Strome and Leddy for a boatload of prospects and be a dynasty in Seattle. They have one foot out the door before they even get here, and will be gone soon. Good riddance Long Island racist white trash, too bad your only team is gone forever.
July 15, 2015, 9:25 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Better learn to count, B'way Blue. According to the NHL, the Islanders averaged 15,334 fans at each home game last season. I'll be the first to admit that this is less than the Rangers average of 18,006, but it's 5 times the "3k" you keep harping about. Really, BB, you continue to embarrass yourself with your ignorance of anything in hockey that doesn't happen in MSG. This has, sadly, been my experience with most Ranger fans - they LOVE their team, but don't give a damn about the game itself, and couldn't say a word of praise for any player not wearing a Blue Shirt.

My brother (one of the exceptions for Ranger fans, as he's very knowledgeable about the game) has season tickets to the Rangers, but he's never taken me to a Rangers/Isles game. He says it's too dangerous for me to be seen cheering for the Isles at MSG. However, he gladly joins me for games at the Coliseum because he knows that, while he may not be welcomed with open arms, no Islander fan would be so low class as to start a confrontation with him.

Speaking of the Rangers, did you know that they won't issue the number 54 on their jerseys. Interesting isn't it, how they also try to forget the significance of that number to their franchise.
July 16, 2015, 9:22 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Personally, I feel that much of Brooklyn will most likely stay with the Rangers as they do with the Knicks. In reality, most fans are loyal to their teams, and they won't just jump ship on them no matter how many losing seasons they have. If any do switch sides, they won't be a big number. Let's not forget that the a good number of Nets that are rooting them after their move to Brooklyn are from NJ, which shows where the fans are really coming from. As for Nassau Coliseum, I haven't been there much myself, but that is primarily due to the fact that I don't follow hockey much, so I couldn't care less about the Islanders. However, for the few times I did go there, it was for seeing the Harlem Globetrotters and when my college was having a graduation ceremony there, but that was about it. Overall, most fans will always stay loyal to their teams, which is why I'm still rooting for the Mets despite not having that many winning seasons as the Yankees, which I feel is dominated by bandwagon fans.
July 16, 2015, 2:28 pm
Brad from Prospect Heights says:
Right on again Mike D. The Brooklyn Islanders without Brooklyn in their name shows they are snobs and not interested in embracing the borough. Brooklyn Nets! Yes!. New York Islanders????
July 16, 2015, 9:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Brad, I hate to break this to you, but having the Brooklyn name in front of the team doesn't mean instant fans. As I have already stated, most fans will most likely never switch sides as the Rangers will always be seen as the true NYC NHL team just the same way for the Knicks in always being the true NBA team of NYC. I could never understand why NYC needs to have two sports teams for almost every league when one is enough. I'm surprised that NYC doesn't have two WNBA teams, but that could change soon as the league could add more teams in the near future, but I still feel that many will still be loyal to the Liberty no matter what. Then again, I could never understand the introduction to NYFC when there are already the Red Bulls, though they play out in Harrison, NJ despite being called a NY team.
July 17, 2015, 3:42 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:

Data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft conclusively proves that Brooklyn is both (a) part of New York, and (b) on Long Island. New York Islanders moniker remains appropriate and accurate.

In a related story, the New York Giants and New York Jets are desperately trying to get NASA to authenticate their names. NASA has declined, saying the resources are better spent searching for life on the moon.
July 17, 2015, 10:12 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
In another related story, Google Maps conclusively proves that Madison Square Garden is neither (a) located in Madison Square, nor (b) a garden. Inquiries to the National Parks Service, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, or New York City Department of Parks has clarified to which National, State or City park the Rangers should be assigned to patrol.
July 20, 2015, 10:54 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sean, the MSG you are referring to is the fourth one in existence. The name came from having the first two being located by the very park hence the name. In that location today is now the NY Life Building. The third one was located where Worldwide Plaza is right now. The reason why the current one is where it is now is primarily because it's above a popular transit hub such as Penn Station, and before you go to condemning it locating there, it was mainly because Pennsylvania RR was declaring bankruptcy and was selling the air rights while Amtrak will own what is below, and the original owner of the arena didn't use taxpayer dollars to acquire that site. Unfortunately, I don't hear any plans for moving the arena in the near future, but it's probably better that it stays where it is now especially after the latest renovations. As for your claim about what's on LI, despite the fact that Brooklyn and Queens are geographically located on it, they aren't considered part of it politically even though most Brooklynites and Queensites don't consider themselves part of NYC either.
July 20, 2015, 3:23 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:

I appreciate the history lesson, but I know all that. I look out at Madison Square Park every day, and love the history of this area. And political affiliations aren't the point. I am making fun of the absurdity of anyone saying the Isles must change their name (and poking fun at Ranger fans).

As for "most Brooklynites and Queensites don't consider themselves part of NYC either", I call BS. Brooklynites (by which I mean people born and raised in Brooklyn) love being New Yorkers. We just love Brooklyn more. (Queensites are strange - they prefer to tout pride in their neighborhoods over pride in Queens. Hence, they don'the use the word Queens in their mailing addresses very often.)
July 20, 2015, 5:53 pm
Dave from Bay Ridge says:
The Islanders not having the Brooklyn team name in it is an insult to all the proud people of Brooklyns' 2.5 million of them. We are not a New York team, it's now Brooklyn! Long Island, Fffuuuggghheettaabboouuttt!!!! How do the Islanders owners expect to appeal to a Brooklyn audience without the name in it? Having them be called NY does not make me proud of my borough. How could anyone, in Brooklyn, have any emotional connection when nothing in the Islanders name makes me want to bring out the bravado, that sense of having a team represent the people of Brooklyn, like you're defending your sacred ground? I think the Islanders should become the Brooklyn Badgers. Here's a name with grit, balls and describes how rabbid the Dodger fans were. Another good name would be the Eagles. That historical paper that Walt Whitman once edited and based in Brooklyn. I would include the, "City of Brooklyn." in the new logo, which reflects a sense of history. Lets look at it this way, If the NE Patriots were to move back to Boston, would they still keep NE in the title?
Nov. 27, 2015, 1:57 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: