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February 1, 2012

Testing the Ice Where Hockey Was an Afterthought

The New York Times
by Liz Robbins

The New York Islanders, tied for last place in their conference and playing in the obsolete Nassau Coliseum, are scheduled to play an exhibition game against the New Jersey Devils in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Oct. 2, perhaps to test the ice for a future move.

The arena that had been designed, and redesigned, for basketball will now transform somewhat awkwardly to accommodate hockey for its first sporting event days after the building opens with a concert by Jay-Z. The Nets will start playing there in mid-October.
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The Barclays Center, under the original design of Frank Gehry, was configured to accommodate professional hockey. But when Mr. Gehry was replaced by SHoP Architects and the company now known as Aecom, hockey became an afterthought. Now, the developer of the arena and the surrounding Atlantic Yards site, Forest City Ratner Companies, is adjusting to make the arena suitable for hockey.

According to Robert Sanna, Forest City Ratner’s executive vice president for construction and design development, the seating capacity will be reduced to 14,500 from 18,000 for basketball, which would make it the league’s smallest rink. Retractable seats will mostly be collapsed on one end, closest to the Atlantic Terminal side, and therefore the alignment around the rink will resemble a horseshoe.

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NoLandGrab: "Somewhat awkwardly?" That's an understatement. "Suitable for hockey?" Well, yes, it would have ice.

Related coverage...

Let this once and for all put an end to talk of an NHL team calling the Barclays Center of Brooklyn™ home — we're certain no NHL rink is configured as "somewhat awkwardly" as this...

New York Islanders Adrift, The Hockey Configuration of the Barclays Center

The configuration for hockey will be the horseshoe shape that I thought it would be according to a New York Times article.

The New York Times, Islanders to Play Devils in Preseason Game at New Arena in Brooklyn

For the Islanders, this is purely a scare tactic...

The announcement serves as another shot across the bow of Nassau County politicians and voters, who have rejected every effort by Islanders owner Charles Wang to upgrade or replace Nassau Coliseum, the club’s 40-year-old home. Although the 16,250-seat Coliseum is one of the N.H.L.’s best buildings for sightlines and intimacy, it is virtually inaccessible by public transit and has few of the money-spinning corporate luxury enticements that provide revenue at other arenas.
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N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman has been a vocal supporter of Wang’s efforts to get a new or extensively upgraded building for the Islanders. He commented briefly on the Islanders situation in answer to reporters’ questions Saturday during the N.H.L. All-Star weekend in Ottawa.

“They still have three and a half years to go,” Bettman said, referring to the club’s Nassau Coliseum lease. “Long Island deserves a new building, not just for hockey but for concerts and family shows and the like.”

Gothamist, Islanders To Play In Brooklyn! For One Game

GOAL! The rumors were (sort of) true! Hockey is really coming to Brooklyn...for at least one game. Yup, despite concerns that the Barclays Center was too small for regulation hockey, the much-maligned Atlantic Yards stadium has announced that on October 2, 2012 the Islanders are going to play the New Jersey Devils. In Brooklyn!

Posted by eric at February 1, 2012 12:44 PM