Brooklyn has a hockey team.
The New York Islanders announced at a press conference Wednesday that, after months of courtship from Barclays Center ownership, they'll be moving to the brand-new arena in 2015. The Islanders lease at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. expires following the 2014-15 season.
"It was our goal from day one to keep the Islanders in the local New York area," Islanders owner Charles Wang said. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to play in Barclays Center, a first-class arena. This has been a long journey for the Islanders family starting with our loyal fans, sponsors and employees. I want to personally thank them for their patience, loyalty, and support. I am excited about today's announcement and I am looking forward to a long and successful future in Brooklyn."
A 25-year lease agreement will keep the Islanders in Brooklyn through the 2040-41 season. Wang called the agreement "iron clad." The New York Islanders name and logo will remain unchanged.
Barclays Center owner Bruce Ratner called Wang the "true hero" for shunning offers to move the team out of state. Several dignitaries mentioned Atlantic Terminal, the transit hub that sits below Barclays Center, as an easy way for existing Islanders fans to travel to games in Brooklyn.
The biggest question surrounding the move is the seating arrangement. Despite being state-of-the-art and brand new, Barclays Center was not built with hockey in mind. It has a capacity of just 14,500 for ice hockey, and without renovations, the sight-lines could turn out less than ideal. The Islanders had hoped for a test run at the arena this fall during the preseason, but a scheduled game against the New Jersey Devils was canceled thanks to the NHL lockout.
The Kontinental Hockey League is scheduled to play a handful of games at Barclays this season, which would give fans and management alike a great look at the hockey set-up in the brand new arena.