Islanders headed to Brooklyn after 2014-15 season
Long Island’s only professional team will be leaving Nassau Coliseum for a new home.
Despite the National Hockey League locking out its players, the Islanders are making noise off the ice as they have announced a new 25-year deal with Brooklyn’s brand new Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. The deal also includes a no opt out clause.
“We have tried really hard to keep the Islanders in their home of Nassau County,” Wang said at the press conference held at Barclays Center. “Unfortunately we were unable to keep that dream. This has been a very long journey for the Islanders.”
The Islanders were scheduled to play a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center on October 2, but due to the lockout, the game was cancelled.
Among those in attendance included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Islanders’ owner Charles Wang, Barclays Center Majority Owner and Developer Bruce Ratner, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark.
The Islanders have a lease with Nassau Coliseum that is set to expire in 2015 and Wang has been trying for the past several years to get a new arena for his Islanders. The Islanders averaged 13,191 in attendance at the Coliseum last season, ranking next-to-last in the NHL.
“This is a sad day for Nassau County and unfortunately another crippling hit to our local economy,” Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said in a statement shortly after the announcement. “To lose the Islanders, Nassau’s only professional sports franchise, is an epic failure of leadership at all levels. We must immediately start working on new ideas for the Hub so that the Coliseum does not sit as a crumbling eyesore for generations.”