Bye-Bye Brooklyn

Bloomberg is reporting that the Barclays Center will kick the Islanders out after the 2018-19 NHL season.

This is not a major shock. Barclays simply wasn’t built for hockey. It’s asymmetrical, leading to terrible seats on one end of the ice, and the scoreboard hanging over one of the blue lines. Furthermore, the Islanders are simply not drawing fans to the games, ranking third to last in the NHL in attendance which they also did in their inaugural season.  (And yes, they should have built the Barclays Center for hockey, but the original design was massively changed when the financial crisis hit in 2008.)

The question is what happens now? The new owners have been trying to get into a partnership with the Mets to construct an arena near Citi Field, but I can’t see how anyone would bite on that financing. We already have the completely redone MSG, the very new Prudential Center in Newark, the completely redone Nassau Coliseum reopening this spring, the very new Barclays Center, and the sitting in mothballs Izod Center at the Meadowlands, in the immediate area. How many arenas can we realistically support? And while a return to the Nassau Coliseum would have made sense, the renovations have lowered the capacity for hockey to 13,000. The Barclays Center is already the smallest in hockey (15,800) would the Islanders really move to an even smaller venue? Would the league even allow them to do so?

I am afraid that barring some miracle, this probably spells the end of the Islanders in the tri-state area. That’s a real shame. As much as I dislike the team, it has a passionate and loyal following that deserves better. My only hope is that if relocation is the final decision, they go to a real hockey hotbed, like Quebec, and not to some sunbelt city that doesn’t have the passion for the game. The Islanders can opt-out of their lease after next year, so we could have a quick resolution to this. Expect the rhetoric to ramp up quickly.

 

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Comments

  • blmeanie  On January 30, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Atlanta! Atlanta! Atlanta!

  • blmeanie  On January 30, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Disagree, name 5 cities that sell out when the team stinks? Atlanta could support a team if they were competitive.

  • blmeanie  On January 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    cool, every team on there has either had success or long history at some point. Thrashers were built by idiots and failed to deliver hope to the city.

    • nysportsfanatic  On January 30, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      Ok, but what about the Flames?

      • blmeanie  On January 31, 2017 at 8:39 am

        long before my time, the Olympics changed the sports scene in Atlanta for the better. Transient town, absolutely, but growth in population from ~ 3M people in 1990 when I arrived to ~ 5.7M today changes how teams are received and cheered for.

      • nysportsfanatic  On January 31, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        If they are going to move to a sunbelt city, which again I hope they don’t, Houston is bigger and would set up a nice little rivalry with the Stars.

  • blmeanie  On January 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    interesting article
    https://www.topdan.com/sports/why-the-thrashers-left-atlanta.html

    Last 6 years they were in Atlanta they out drew the same Islanders you write about. No one rushing to force a sale to a Canadian city is there?

    • nysportsfanatic  On January 30, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Islanders had the worst, and I mean the worst, arena in the league. The Nassau “Mosileum” as Rangers fans called it was terrible. Don’t know if you ever went to a Braves spring training game in West Palm Beach, but that is a good stadium equivalent.

      The Islanders are a proud franchise in distress. They deserve a good home. one with hard-core hockey support. If not Canada, how about Milwaukee? Either way, Atlanta wouldn’t be my choice.

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