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August 4, 2011

GAME CHANGER! Professional hockey could be coming to Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Paper
by Aaron Short

No, professional hockey is not coming to Brooklyn. For the record, it is far more likely that Bruce Ratner returns to the taxpayers the hundreds of millions of our cash he's received than it is that the Islanders will ever call the Barclays Center home.

Barclays Center officials now say that the Prospect Heights sports arena will be able to host a professional hockey team — a flip-flop that comes days after Nassau County voters rejected a new home for the struggling New York Islanders.

Developer Forest City Ratner originally intended to include hockey as a possible use for the under-construction $1-billion home for the Brooklyn-bound Nets, but the icemen were banished when the arena was redesigned two years ago to cut costs.

“We hope to explore hockey opportunities in the future,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said this week, though quickly adding, “[but] our primary focus at the moment is to build the best sports and entertainment venue in the world.”

The venue is designed to hold 18,000 seats for basketball, but its capacity for hockey games would only be 14,500 seats, about 1,750 seats less than the Nassau Coliseum. It would be the smallest arena in the National Hockey League.


NoLandGrab: And because the Barclays Center was designed expressly for basketball, a good number of those remaining seats would have terrible sightlines.

But don't let the facts stop the madness:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn Islanders?

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is currently keeping a safe distance from rumors that the Barclays Center would be a perfect landing spot for the troubled Islanders after Monday’s “No” vote from the Nassau County Board of Elections rejected owner Charles Wang’s plan for a near arena on Long Island.

“As before, [Prokhorov has] no interest in pursuing the purchase of another sports team at this time,” said the Russian billionaire’s spokesperson in a statement Tuesday.

Yormark was quick to fend off reports that the Barclays Center wasn’t built to host NHL games this week.

“Barclays Center will have an ice rink that can support professional hockey,” Yormark said via e-mail.

Gothamist, The Islanders Playing Hockey In Brooklyn? Hey, It Could Happen

In addition, they'll likely have some competition from Seattle, Suffolk County, Quebec City, and another borough who are in the market for a sports franchise: Queens! Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, told the News that they were hoping to create a sports complex with the Islanders, Mets and U.S. Open. "I really believe this is the time for Queens County to open up their arms," he said.

All About Fifth, Islanders in Brooklyn?

Of course, it didn't take long for the local press to start talking about the Islanders' options, including moving into the controversial Barclays Center, currently being built at the end of Fifth Avenue for the New Jersey Nets.

So, what do you think? Can we support a hockey franchise? Is it better to get the most use out of the arena (even if we hate it) or is the extra traffic not worth the hassle?

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], The Day: Islanders Eye Brooklyn

Looks like we might get yet another new sports team.

Posted by eric at August 4, 2011 11:32 AM