In the fall of 2015 the New York Islanders will move from Nassau to Brooklyn in what will be a new chapter in New York sports. While the team finally gets the new arena the franchise has coveted for almost two decades, the Islanders may regret making the jump to Brooklyn. In the grand scheme of things it is easy to see why the Islanders are moving. The Nassau Coliseum is a dump that has been long considered the worst venue in the NHL and Long Island hasn’t exactly shown the initiative or resolve to get a new arena on the Island. Given the current circumstances it’s easy to see why the Islanders needed a new home. Problem is, they may have picked the wrong one.
Hockey at the Barclays Center. sounds like a good idea except for the arena logistics. For example, the layout can cause for some problems. This is because Barclay’s Center was built for basketball and concerts, not hockey. As seen here the scoreboard for the hockey games doesn’t hang outer center ice, but over a blue line. While the arena features a hockey layout, this was only supposed to be for special games, not an entire season. The whole purpose of the Barclay’s Center was to deter any hockey teams from coming in. I understand that they loved how new and modern the arena is, but when this nostalgia of a new arena wears off after a few years and then the Islanders will say “this was a mistake”. At Barclay’s, the rink is not centered creating unusual hockey sight lines and certain blind spots to the action. Sure the idea of the Islanders in a new arena is great, but once that fad wears off people will realize that the Islanders in the Barclay’s Arena was a mistake.
- West End:
A unique feature about the Islanders at the Barclay’s center is that there are no seats behind the net in the west end of the arena. You heard right with the configuration, there will be just a wall behind the west goal with seats above the glass. Some of the best seats in hockey are right behind the goaltender and the Islanders are ok with half these seats gone? One of the biggest
arguments about the Islanders getting a new arena was about the seating capacity. At 16,170, the Nassau Coliseum is the second smallest arena in tens of capacity in the league. At Barclays the capacity is 15,800 for hockey, and while they have said that more seats will be added for Islanders games, it still makes Barclays the smallest hockey arena in the NHL. On top of that, there are terrible sight lines from this configuration such as blind spots from the upper deck in the west end. I can se Islander fans really happy about commenting to Brooklyn and paying for ridiculous ticket prices for seats with blind spots.
- Bye Bye Tailgating
Sure the Barclays Center is beautiful, but it does have its own problems. Case in point parking. Why is this important? Without parking there is no tailgating, which is an Islanders’ fan staple. Sure tailgating probably originated because Islander fans wanted to spend as little time as possible inside the Nassau Coliseum, but it is who they are. Tailgating brings fans together in a community linked by sausages and burgers. Sure it’s more of a football thing, but tailgating and hockey are a terrific combination. However, Brooklyn will put an end to this with almost no parking and no large gathering place for tailgating. The closest Islander fans will get to tailgating stating in 2015 is cramming onto the train to Brooklyn with other Islanders fan.
- It’s not Long Island!
This is the most important aspect of why the Islanders moving to Brooklyn will be a disaster. They are Long Island’s team, not a New York City team. The reason this team was so beloved on Long Island is because it was Long Island’s own team that became one of the greatest dynasties in sports. Now those championships and history are being moved away from the fan base that loves this team so much. It be like the Packers moving to Milwaukee, it just doesn’t make sense. You take the Islanders of the Island, you lose the essence of what the team means to the people of Long Island. They’re not a New York team so why should they now play in the New York market in Brooklyn?
- Now your telling a fan base that’s been loyal through thick and thin, sorry if you still want to watch us play you have to commute to Brooklyn. Sure this isn’t the worst case scenario which would have been the team moving completely away from the New York area, but it has moved the Islanders away from the community that helped make them a proud NHL franchise. While Brooklyn may have all the bells and whistles, once the thrill of a new arena wears off coupled with terrible hockey sight lines, will make this move a disaster for the Islanders. Sure the team will be the same, but the soul of the Islanders will be lost once they move in 2015.