Barclays Center Wants Club To Permanently Relocate From Nassau County

By B.D. Gallof,

NEW YORK (WFAN) — The confirmed preseason NHL game next season at the Barclays Center is part of a larger initiative to get the Islanders and owner Charles Wang to consider permanent relocation to Brooklyn, has learned.

The Islanders will host the Devils on Oct. 2, a fact that I first reported two weeks ago and was made official on Thursday.

According to sources, including one within the NHL and another with knowledge of the Barclays Center, the venue is making an “aggressive sales pitch.” In addition, the league source said “the chances of the New York Islanders to Brooklyn are actually pretty good.” The preseason game, sources said, is being viewed as a chance for Wang to get a sense of what life would be like in Brooklyn.

Barclays Center officials have been using the Islanders as an enticement to lure corporate sponsors, another source said.

As for the territorial issue that some media outlets have been citing as an issue for the Islanders, who originally paid the Rangers $4.5 million in 1972 for permission to take root in Nassau County, an NHL source said: “… 99 percent certain the Isles wouldn’t have to pay the Rangers a dime if they moved to Brooklyn or Queens. … There is no fee, but the Rangers wouldn’t be happy about it. But there’s not much they could do.”

According to some, there is a 1986 amendment to the 1972 agreement that allows the Islanders to relocate to Queens and Brooklyn.

This latest development in the Islanders’ long-discussed but rarely elaborated on plans for the future seems to fly in the face of popular thinking. Wang has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since becoming part-owner of the franchise in 2000. Conventional wisdom has suggested that Wang would look to recoup those losses in any decision involving a new or revamped arena, regardless of its location.

However, due to Wang’s silence on the issue since the Nassau County arena referendum failed to pass last August, there’s really no way to know at this point if there has been a shift in his thinking.

The Islanders have operated as a small market team over the last few seasons, with their arena issues and red tape playing a major role in their refusal to spend money to hasten the club’s development on the ice. What we’ve seen since has been a methodical and youth-infused rebuilding process that is now in its fourth season and showing some signs of bearing fruit.

The NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman are taking a wait-and-see attitude on the future of the franchise, despite a visit by Barclays’ officials to the NHL offices last year after voters in Nassau shot down the referendum.

“I don’t know, and we haven’t focused on this, whether it works for the fan base in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, because driving to Brooklyn from Nassau and Suffolk is not the easiest thing to do,” Bettman told MSG Network’s Stan Fischler just this past November.

So whether the NHL is on board with Brooklyn’s apparent plan remains to be seen. However, it is certainly a better option for the fan base than to lose the team to Quebec or elsewhere when the club’s lease runs out following the 2014-15 season.

After what happened in Atlanta with the Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg last summer, Isles fans most likely will agree.

Stay tuned.

Do you take this as a positive development, or will you remain in wait-and-see mode like the NHL? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

Comments (22)
  1. Realist says:

    Um, your arena would be an even bigger joke than the one you play in now — check the configuration:

    1. KPMc says:

      Looks unusual yes… But what is the joke?

      1. Brian Daniel Gallof says:

        my guess is that if those principals are so gung-ho to get the Isles…they have another idea or some way to offset the issue.

      2. KPMc says:

        And looking closer i can see that is actually the floor plan of the Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Ice minor hockey team.

  2. Dan Ratto says:

    does the train go there?

    1. KPMc says:

      Just 9 subway lines and the LIRR!

      Atlantic Terminal is a transit hub.

      Now driving there would suck but we have to break the East Enders of doing that! Maybe drive to a closer stop on the LIRR before boarding the train.

    2. bob says:

      Depending on what LIRR branch you take. For instance, you might have to change at Jamaica Station and get on the LIRR that goes to the Atlantic Terminal.

      As much as I’d like the Isles to stay in Nassau County; maybe a move to the Barclays wouldn’t be bad. Since Mangano is already listening to devlopers about the Coliseum land (minus the Isles) and the do-nothing Town of Hempstead Supervisor unless it suits her and her cronies; perhaps the move to Brooklyn will be good for the Isles. It would be a good middle finger to the Nassau County Executive and the Town of Hempstead. Funny how Mangano stated that he wanted the Isles to stay. Perhaps the Association for a Better Long Island, showed him the money. Lets see how much taxes will skyrocket when the Coliseum closes. If the new developers from the AFABL win after 2015, I smell a fix but then again, what the Town of Hemp Supervisor wants; she gets!

  3. Robert Cuillo says:

    If its not Nassau or Suffolk then as long as its still on Long Island…Brooklyn is technically part of Long Island

    1. Boss says:

      Thanks for the info Sherlock

  4. Jack says:

    Brooklyn could be great…especially with all the russians who live there.

  5. LetsGoIsles says:

    I have very mixed feelings about the Isles going to Brooklyn – Brooklyn’s not my first choice because I think most of the regular fan base would balk at the travel (yes it has mass transit but it’s not as easy to get to and from there as people might think). I’d prefer Queens in a heartbeat but the reality is getting a new stadium in Queens, in time for 2015 is highly unlikely and Barclays is there, ready and waiting. Better Brooklyn than Quebec.

  6. KPMc says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of Brooklyn and the cache that name brings. If they boldly use it in their name, similar to baseball’s Angels I am sure that will raise their profile to never-before-seen heights.

    The New York Islanders of Brooklyn!

    But ESPN and other sportscasters would refer to them as Brooklyn. Saying that name alone every night on SportsCenter will improve the brand immensely.

    As for myself, I was born into a Rangers family, started following the Devils when they moved to the area and kind of root for both of those teams now. While I have always “hated’ the Islanders since their 80′s success, if they put Brooklyn in the name I know where my allegiance will lie.

    In a very unofficial poll of Brooklyn hockey fans I know, they dreaded that scenario because they too would soon have to root for the Brooklyn team.

    Add to that the balance of the 2.5 million Brooklynites who don’t have an allegiance or haven’t had the opportunity to appreciate the coolest game on ice and I think the recipe for success in Kings County is there.

    1. Robert Cuillo says:

      I like how you make it sound with the Brooklynites…Isles fans would have to accept some ex-Rags fans but thats ccol cuz its for a valif reason…Now sleep till!!

  7. Joeyd says:

    how about instead of the New York Islanders how about the the Brooklyn Lagers. It has a nice ring to it. I would love to see them play in Brooklyn I love my Islanders, but I can’t see myself spending to see them play in such a rotten arena.

    1. BD says:

      Wow. I have to say, as a beer drinker…i do like that. But prefer the Islanders name retained. The Lagers sound more like an AHL team which they have been the level of far too long.

  8. Steven says:

    It’s the way they started in the 70’s! NETS/ISLANDERS belong together.

  9. doc says:

    Go Islander, come to NYC. We welcome you!

  10. Facts says:

    What PeteyP said!!!!

  11. Jethro09 says:

    Great development. Bklyn is better than Quebec, KC or Seattle. If Nassau County can’t get its collective stuff together and Queens isn’t an option, Brooklyn and the Barclays will work just fine. I can see a nice partnership between the Nets/Isles. This can only be a good thing.

  12. Shaled Shaled says:

    Bettman should learn about mass transit. Great news!

  13. PeteyP says:

    Nassau County does not deserve a professional sports franchise. While the residents have been supportive, the corrupt ways of the County politicians in EVERYTHING they do has left the Islanders with no choice at this point. I am a Brooklyn resident and die-hard fan, I will commute to Barclays, Queens or Suffolk without hesitation ….. but I will not spend another dime in Nassau Coliseum.

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