The Islanders officially announced Tuesday what has long been assumed a given, that they will play a preseason game next season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, their future home. The Islanders will take on the Devils on Sept. 21, at 7 p.m., and it will be the first NHL game ever played in Brooklyn. The same matchup was supposed to take place this past preseason, but that was cancelled because of the Lockout III. With two more full seasons on their lease at the decrepit Nassau Coliseum before moving into the new $1 billion arena in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season, the Islanders are starting to try to build a fan base in their new borough. There are still some alterations to be done to the Barclays Center, the current home of the Nets, before a hockey team can move in full time. But dealing with a small locker room and altered seating is something the team is willing to do. On Monday, there was a haphazard report on a barely-credentialed blog stating the Islanders were in discussion with the county in hopes of moving out early. Yesterday, the team said there “is no new news at this time,” and they are “scheduled to move into [the] Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season, per our lease agreement.” When Nassau County was contacted, they said no comment can be made on any talks because of the pending Request for Proposal (RFP) on the Coliseum site. That request period ends April 15, when the county will try to choose a plan and hope to move forward. It can be assumed that if talks are happening, they are extremely preliminary and are predicated on who is chosen to develop the Coliseum site. With neither side making any public declaration, it’s clear that an early departure of the Islanders would be a positive for both parties involved. The Islanders — in eighth place before last night’s Coliseum match against the Flyers and seeking their first playoff appearance in five seasons — want to leave the Coliseum as soon as possible. When they do, the county immediately can begin whatever sort of restoration or development project it so chooses (if it can ever get out of its own way).
Islanders to play preseason game at Barclays
New York Post | Apr 10