New York Islanders Will Move to Brooklyn

The announcement is expected to take place at 1 p.m. today.

Image
Reuters

When it rains, it pours. The 55-year hiatus of professional sports from Brooklyn is over, and with opening day for the Brooklyn Nets a week away, it looks like the borough has recruited another professional sports team from the Tri-State Area: the New York Islanders.

According to the New York Post, Bruce Ratner, the developer of the Barclays Center where the Nets now play, had been "trying like hell" to convince the Long Island-based hockey team to move to downtown Brooklyn. Apparently, he's succeeded: the Post reports that the announcement will come at a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m. today featuring Ratner, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and Islanders owner Charles Wang.

Not only did the Barclays Center, like most basketball arenas, have plans for an ice rink: Ratner had actually scheduled an exhibition game for October 2 between the Islanders and the Devils, which was cancelled because of the NHL lockout, the second in eight years.

Wang has previously insisted he would keep the Islanders on Long Island for proximity to the team's fan base, but the Islanders' lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, and the team's $400 million plan to overhaul the arena was rejected handily last summer by Nassau County taxpayers. Of course, Brooklyn is technically on Long Island -- so Wang isn't going back on his word in the strictest sense of the definition.

There had been talk of Suffolk Country, which lies east of Nassau, courting the Islanders. But there had also been rumors of bringing the team to Brooklyn.

The New York Times says the team is expected to sign a 25-year agreement at Barclays, but the Islanders will remain the New York Islanders. Brooklyn hasn't had a hockey team since World War II, when the New York Americans briefly changed their name to the Brooklyn Americans and practiced in Kings County.

The Wall Street Journal says the move can be expected in 2015, when the Islanders lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires.

Nine other NHL teams share arenas with NBA teams: Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, and the New York Rangers.

With a second team and set of fans regularly making their way to and from the arena, don't look for Barclays neighbor concerns to dissipate any time soon. Do hockey fans urinate in the street more or less often than NBA fans?

Top image: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.