Thin ice: Barclays split could send Islanders back east

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Isle be back!

A break-up between Barclays Center and the New York Islanders could pave the way for the National Hockey League team’s return to its native Long Island.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday that the Islanders are on the verge of being kicked out of Barclays Center, where they have been playing in front of sparse crowds on a rink shoe-horned into the Prospect Heights arena for the last two years.

But the team could find a home in the newly refurbished and soon-to-reopen Nassau Coliseum where it won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983, and reps in points east are chomping at the bit see a team hit the ice.

“I will be reaching out to the Islanders organization to convey my sincere and enthusiastic desire to facilitate the return of the Islanders Hockey Team to Nassau County,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino.

Seating could be a problem: the refurbished arena — set to reopen in April after a $260-million facelift by Forest City Ratner, the same developer that constructed Barclays Center — only has 13,000 seats.

But that number could be increased to more than 16,000 according to plans submitted to the town in 2015. Back then, Newsday reported that Ratner could request the town “consider an expansion of seating at the Coliseum back to existing capacity.”

Representatives for Barclays Center declined to comment on the possible move.

In Kings County, the Islanders draw just 12,828 fans per game — the third-worst attendance in the National Hockey League.

The arena, which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, is anxious to end its partnership with the team, reportedly because more money could be made without the Islanders on the ice. According to Bloomberg, a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the team won’t actually contribute any revenue after the 2018–19 season — giving the franchise just one more year in the borough.

It has been a rough two seasons in Brooklyn despite the team’s first playoff series in more than two decades last year at Barclays — fans complain of poor sight-lines and players of sub-par ice conditions.

The team’s arrangement with Barclays Center is also unusual, according to the Bloomberg report, which claims the arena actually pays the Islanders an average of $53.5 million a year in exchange for control of business operations, including revenue from ticket and suite sales.

The lease can be terminated by either side and if the Islanders want out of Brooklyn, the team can be gone as early as next season.

There were reports in July that the Islanders were interested in building a new arena next to Citi Field in Queens, but no official word has emerged about the potential move.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
So this makes two arenas made with too little seating for a hockey team, who really want a hockey team, and can alter it after the fact to add the seating?
Feb. 1, 2017, 8:38 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
I guess the FLIDs weren't enthusiastic about watching the islanders in Brooklyn.
Feb. 1, 2017, 9:21 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
The Islanders do a horrible job reaching out to Brooklynites (esp. compared to The Nets.) When the players publicly say they don't know anything about Brooklyn, aren't interested in moving to Brooklyn, and would rather stay on Long Island, it's hard to attract new Brooklyn fans.

Plus, the Islanders dumped a number of their good players at the end of last season. Losers.
Feb. 1, 2017, 10:25 am
Name from Park slope says:
Most obnoxious redneck fans flood the neighborhood every time they play. Can't leave soon enough
Feb. 1, 2017, 12:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just having a new place to play isn't a magic bullet for any team. When they play good, it's because of the team themselves, not where they play. As long as the Islanders continue to play bad, they will have the same results when it comes to fans, and the same thing implies with the Nets. The only problem with the Barclays Center, which I still despise to this day by being a product of both corporate welfare and eminent domain abuse, is that it was never built with an NHL team in mind, just and NBA team as it was originally intended for. On a side note, had the Nets made the same transactions and stayed in NJ, people would be saying that they shouldn't even think of leaving that state due to their good seasons that were only a fluke when first coming to Brooklyn.
Feb. 1, 2017, 4:13 pm
Sal from Bensonhurst says:
First, Barclays Center is responsible for all marketing for the Islanders according to the lease agreement. They did a really bad job reaching out to Brooklynites. Second, Barclays has horrible ice and they refuse to do anything about it in the off season because it interferes with their concerts. So obviously they don't and haven't cared about the Islanders being there. Which is sad because the team is actually good. Last seasons successful playoff round victory and recent upswing. Oh and Park slope, calling Long Islanders rednecks isn't nice. Hockey fans may be a bit rambunctious, but to stoop to name calling, grow up.
Feb. 1, 2017, 5:48 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
I've seen no meaningful reaching out to potential Brooklyn fans, which is as astonishing.

Almost as astonishing as building this arena without better sight lines for hockey. This would be malpractice by the architect or owners. They never considered the possibility that hockey games could be played there?

Despite all, I very much hope that things are worked out, that the team stays, and that it thrives.

If they leave, Brooklyn won't be getting another hockey team anytime soon.

Go Islanders, I mean, stay Islanders!
Feb. 1, 2017, 11:01 pm
Kenny from Dyker Heights says:
Calling hockey fans rednecks is just the thing that the pinky in the air types would say.

Would it be possible to retrofit this arena, so that it would work better for hockey?
Feb. 1, 2017, 11:51 pm
Chris from Flushing queens says:
Reach out to brooklynites?? What were they supposed to do for you? Clues less yuppies! Know nothing about hockey anyway and dont deserve them. Welcome home! Can't be soon enough! What a mistake for the players and true fans!
Feb. 2, 2017, 4:47 pm
Dennis Potvin from East New York says:
How about telling someone that they had arrived and that they'd like you to come see a game?

The Islanders are fairly unknown in the metro area - and the NY media does not cover hockey too much as compared with the other sports.
Feb. 2, 2017, 6:30 pm
Chris from Queens says:
Over 40 years. Denis potvin Just goes to prove my point.You are lost in Brooklyn .And buy the way you should look at a map! You losers are part of Long Island! No wonder why NOBODY wants to TRAVEL to deal with your lost in space attitudes and sense of entitlement.We will be waiting with open arms.Now maybe we can get some quality players to come back home to REAL Islander fans! Hope you enjoy the Nets Beyoncé and jay z.You are clue less
Feb. 2, 2017, 8:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can't say much about the Islanders because I'm not into hockey to begin with, but I do know that as long as a team continues to play bad, they won't have the support no matter where they play. The majority of Nets fans are still from NJ as much as so many don't want to think, especially Ratner and Yormark when promoting the move to Brooklyn. Right now, the Nets are doing horribly and very few games if any are getting sellouts, and they are hardly getting that much coverage, which means that their "Hello Brooklyn" flavor has worn off. Then again, it can also be to the fact that most sports writers don't cover them much. Let's not forget that the Mets only get about half of the coverage the Yankees get and that was despite the fact that they have been playing much better than the Yankees have been lately. Meanwhile, the Liberty, who actually do exist despite some saying how much they don't, hardly get any coverage if ever and that is despite also having a number of winning seasons, which shows that sexism still does exist when it comes to coverage, plus this team has been around for 20 years since the WNBA was founded back in 1997. In some cases, favoritism plays a role when it comes to coverage of teams, because some get little to no coverage despite how they preform.
Feb. 3, 2017, 4:08 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
The WNBA gets way more TV coverage than it deserves. No one cares.
Feb. 3, 2017, 5:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am seriously tired of those who keep saying nobody cares about the WNBA. After last season ratings, viewership, and attendance has been up for the league, which means that people do care about it. Despite all of that and having more games televised, their coverage on sports shows and even in newspapers are still the same as they have always been. Imagine if the Liberty were to win a championship. Would this even be headlines or on TV or would it just go unmentioned? BTW, the Liberty did rank among the top for average home attendance for last season, which also shows that there are those who really care about them. On a side note, I know many naysayers who would get schooled very easily against a benchwarmer from the worst WNBA, and they will probably claim they got fouled every time they stole the ball from them, blocked their shots, or just came close to them. Nevertheless, ESPN finds the WNBA worth keeping, which is why they extended their contract for airing their games to 2022, though it will probably be extended again in the near future. In other words, get used to those you meet in the streets saying this, "How about them Liberty?"
Feb. 5, 2017, 3:50 pm
Dave from Brooklyn says:
Seems to me that "coverage" of the WNBA is exactly where it should be

Liberty Average Attendance 9,159 (46% capacity)
Nets Average Attendance 15,449 (85.3% capacity)
Knicks 19,812 (100% capacity)
Feb. 6, 2017, 3:26 pm
Nicky from Long island says:
Losing the islanders and debating the LIBERTY??? Lost in space . Truly shocking
Feb. 6, 2017, 11:06 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
My point is that as a team does bad, they won't get high attendance at their games. Fans want to see a good team and have their money's worth of that. If that's not the case, they will see their games as a waste of their money that they will just stay home on watch them on TV for the cost of their cable bill. Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can see about the Islanders or the rest of the NHL, because I don't follow it on a normal basis especially since I am a fan of the NBA, WNBA, and MLB, plus I couldn't care less about the NFL let alone the Superbowl in that matter or even the MLS. When I mentioned the Mets and Liberty, my statement to them was that they don't get a lot of coverage despite the fact that they have been playing better lately and even getting higher attendance by their fans. The only thing that bothers me with them is how the media actually covers them, which is still little to nothing compared to a lot others. In the case of the Islanders, they haven't had to many good seasons lately to warrant more media coverage, but even they get more coverage than the Liberty despite playing worse than they do, which shows that sexism sort of does play a role here.
Feb. 7, 2017, 3:56 pm
Chris from Queens says:
You have no idea what you are talking about. The isles made the playoffs last year and in case you haven't looked they are above 500 and are probably going too again this year. You know nothing and your point is moot. Good ridence. This was one of the biggest mistakes in history. Enjoy
Feb. 7, 2017, 8:10 pm

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