Brooklyn Boro

Are Isles ready to say ‘Goodbye Brooklyn’?

Brooklyn’s NHL Team Reportedly Looking into Queens Relocation

July 21, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Though they only arrived here last season, the New York Islanders are reportedly in talks with the Wilpon family to move to Queens. Eagle photo by John Torenli
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“Hello, I Must Be Going!” is the title of a 1982 Phil Collins album.

It also very well may represent what’s going on at Downtown’s Barclays Center as the New York Islanders, fresh off their first year at the state-of-the-art arena, are reportedly in discussions to move to Queens.

According to a Bloomberg News report, the Islanders are in talks with the Wilpon family, owners of the New York Mets, to get out of Barclays, which has been harshly criticized by fans, as well as some players, for obstructed views and shoddy ice conditions since the formerly Long Island-based NHL team officially moved here last fall.

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Plans for a new arena, which would sit adjacent to the Mets’ ballpark, has been in the wind for several years since Citi Field opened in 2009.

There have been rumors of an MLS franchise moving there, but now, with the Isles coming off their first playoff series-winning season since 1993, the Wilpons are allegedly in play to take one of the two major pro sports franchises in our fair borough.

With a built-in fourth year opt out in their previously “iron-clad” 25-year agreement at Barclays, the Isles, bolstered by new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, might simply be making a push to get their current arena renovated in an effort to make it more accommodating to both fans and players going forward.

Barclays representatives have yet to comment on the story, but the Isles are likely to remain here until at least the end of the 2018-19, according to terms of the original agreement.

The Islanders drew an average of 13,626 fans to Barclays for their 41 regular-season games, ranking 28th overall in the league in home attendance.

That figure is down significantly from the 15,334 the Isles averaged during the final season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. in 2014-15.

However, the Coliseum, which is currently being renovated by former Nets and Barclays Center owner Bruce Ratner, consistently drew among the least fans in the league for most of the previous decade on Long Island.

After rumors swirled that the Isles would leave the tri-state area all together, former owner and Brooklyn Tech high school alum Charles Wang struck the deal that brought them to the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues for what most thought was the foreseeable future.

Until now, that is.

 


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