Blog Entry

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:15 pm

By Brian Stubits

The possibility of the Islanders staying on Long Island, just much closer to the city, is growing.

Katie Strang of Newsday reported on Friday that NHL officials met with Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner and CEO Brett Yormark. Both men are not only involved with the arena being built in Brooklyn, but are also involved with the New Jersey Nets organization. It's not reported what the discussion concerned, but the logical assumption concerned hockey in Brooklyn and the Islanders.

Perhaps the first place that popped up as a future home of the Islanders after their arena vote on August 1 was met with a resounding no was Brooklyn. Considering there is a state of the art arena that is going up, the fit seemed natural. The Islanders wouldn't have to go but a few miles down the road instead of relocating to Canada or west of the Mississippi.

But the elephant in the room has been the size of the Barclays Center. It will be a great fit for the NBA's Nets, but the number of adequate seats for hockey is an issue.

Here is what Yormark said in an email to Newsday soon after the August 1 vote.

"The Barclays Center will have an ice rink that can support professional hockey. Due to the venue's design, the capacity for hockey would be a few thousand seats less than for basketball. While we hope to explore hockey opportunities in the future, our primary focus at the moment is to build the best sports and entertainment venue in the world."

Specifically, the arena would figure to host a little more than 14,000 for hockey. That would make it easily the smallest venue in the NHL, lower than the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. But that isn't a deal-breaker.

"We have no set seating capacity or requirements established," a league spokesperson told Newsday.

This is pretty much good news any way you slice it unless you are in Quebec City keeping your fingers crossed. I've said all along that after the rejection of the vote, Brooklyn would be the next best alternative to staying in Nassau County. The concerns about the size of the arena for hockey are justified, but I feel could be mitigated with the location of the arena. Demand would likely increase for tickets with the location closer to the city and the prices would certainly rise. All in all, the numbers could come out to around the same or better. That's before you consider the lease situation.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:06 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: August 22, 2011 7:02 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials


1. Move New York Islanders to Brooklyn; keep New York moniker
2. Relocate Phoenix Coyotes to Portland
3. Relocate Florida Panthers to Kansas City
4. Expand a team in Quebec City
5. Expand a team in Seattle

32 teams, 2 conferences, 8 divisions, 4 teams per div

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: August 22, 2011 1:41 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

Having a venue that only sat 14,000 or so would almost certainly drive ticket prices through the roof.  But on the other hand the voters said no to the Lighthouse Project.  In my opinion you can't stay in the Colesium too much longer.  The roof may come down Metrodome style.  Options are to move to Brooklyn, move to Kansas City, move to Quebec, or move to Portland (little known fact that Portland has great hockey fans).  When Quebec builds their new arena then all of these places will be leaps and bounds better than the Colesium.

Since: Jul 7, 2011
Posted on: August 21, 2011 11:36 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

No team in Quebec and move the Senators to southern Ontario, better fan base.

Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: August 21, 2011 9:39 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

I second the previous comment. If Long Islanders are "getting the shaft", it is only of their own un-doing. And that vote sealed the deal. Many cities in the US now play in neighboring towns anyway for various reasons. If this wasn't such a strong idea, the NHL would have never sent officials to discuss Barclays in the first place. Make the move!
PS - Edmonton won two separate back-to-back Cup campaigns sandwiched around a Canadiens championship, I believe I remember correctly.

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: August 21, 2011 2:14 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

Hey Brianlion...The Nassau "core fan base" had their opportunity on Aug 1st and clearly blew it! I do not want to hear any whining from you or the so called Isles fans that they are moving out of Nassau County. What do you expect them to do? There is an established arena going up in Brooklyn. The Isles fan base will no doubt increase by moving to the area. I am just glad as I know deep down that you are probably too, that if this goes through we will not lose this team out of NY. People forget that the Islanders were the last professional sports franchise to win 4 championships in a row and then only lose a fifth one to the Gretzkey (and co.) Oilers in 7 games. The Oilers won 3 then the 4th I believe a year after.

Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:33 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

while it might be better for the team (assuming Wang sells them since we all know he doesnt want to be someone else's tenant), I have to think the Islanders core fanbase in Nassua and Suffolk counties would be getting the shaft on this. Not only would they have to travel much farther to watch their team, they'd get an insane increase in ticket prices as well.  Not to mention the team would cease to be a Long Island franchise and just become another NYC team. (spare me the semantics of telling me that Brooklyn is on "geographic Long Island."

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: August 21, 2011 10:05 am

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

As "Badger" Bob Johnson said, "It's a great day for hockey". At least it sounds like it could be if you're a New York Islanders fan. I am a huge Islanders fan and the prospect of this team, with all of it's rich history and tradition, moving away from New York is devastating for me. The idea of not seeing the retired numbers of Potvin, Smith, Nystrom, Bossy, Trottier and Gilles hanging from the rafters as well as all the banners that they won is sickening. The idea that one of the most storied rivalries in the Islanders-Rangers may be gone is hard to fathom.

While a 14,000-seat arena would be the smallest in the NHL adjusting ticket prices would solve that problem. There's no doubt that the team has been mostly irrelevant over the past several seasons and drawing under 10,000 fans per game.  But I think what we all saw after the All-Star Break last year is a sign of things to come. They had the best record in hockey over that stretch and only a 21-game winless streak kept this team out of the post-season. By putting a better product on the ice and winning the fans will come back. Garth Snow has started to do that and this team has tons of potential. Having the team in an arena that is closer to Manhattan will draw more fans and fill up the Barclay's Center.

Since: Nov 7, 2007
Posted on: August 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

Well this could be the first NHL team that makes most of its money on television revenue as opposed to selling seats; what a novel idea eh?

Since: Aug 20, 2011
Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:48 pm

Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

I generally despise NY-area teams, but can recognize the importance of having a strong presence in the NY area.  I think it would be great to put the Islanders in Brooklyn.  The basic economics can work out at 14,000 seats - a reduction in supply neccesitates the increase in price.  The only thing really standing in the way making the Isles relevant again.  If the team continues to be average at best, then demand will plummet no matter where the team is and how much (or little) the ticket/parking/concession prices are.

But don't underestimate the value of location.  The Tampa Bay Rays have been among the best teams (in the AL East at that) for the past few years.  But their stadium is in St. Pete, meaning that your typical Tampa resident has a 30-60 minute drive each way.  Ticket and parking prices are reasonable, but who has the time to get out there 4 or 5 days a week?  If you have the opportunity to move to a densely populated and easy to reach location, then by all means take it. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or