By Daniel Friedman
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The Islanders have played two exhibition games at Barclays Center over the past week, and their new home has had mixed reviews in both the lead-up to the move and the start of their tenancy.
This week, we look at the positives and negatives from what we’ve seen so far during this transition to Brooklyn from Nassau Coliseum, where the team spent the first 43 years of its existence.
The new locker room is gorgeous, and the entire building is refined and high-tech. Those are undeniable facts. It’s an excellent venue, at least in a general sense.
Say whatever you will about the “Brooklyn” thing, but the Islanders haven’t been marketed this aggressively in decades. It’s refreshing to see a group that’s willing to throw those kinds of resources into plastering John Tavares’ face all over town, in the subway, and so on. There’s something to be said for that.
Take a look at the neutral zone on Barclays Center’s ice surface and you’ll see some company logos that were rarer at Nassau Coliseum. American Express, Pepsi and Honda? Not bad. Look at the ads wrapped around the boards, too, and you’ll see less of the Yellow Pages and more of the bigger name companies. It’s impressive.
Not Built for Hockey
Some people are trying to brush it off, and I get why, but this is a problem. In today’s day and age, three obstructed seats is considered too many, let alone hundreds of obstructed seats. The off-center scoreboard would appear to be an easier fix, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll ever get fixed. It just looks wrong.
To an extent, the Barclays Center group has respected the franchise’s tradition, but only to an extent. There is a lot they have not addressed. It took fan backlash to make Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark aware that completely rebranding the Islanders was the wrong thing to do. It also took some real pushing to get him to hang up the division and conference championship banners. I assume that as this partnership grows, so too will the connectivity between Yormark and the fans.
Tailgating (or lack thereof)
Without a proper parking lot, tailgaters will either have to be very innovative or retire their practice altogether. It may be the way of the world at many of today’s modern facilities, but tailgating was an art form and morale booster for the fans back at the coliseum.