A press conference this afternoon will reveal that the NHL’s New York Islanders will be moving to Barclays Center in 2015 at the latest, according to reports in the New York Post, Newsday and several other major media outlets.
The Islanders will keep their name, according to the reports, which quote anonymous sources. The team is owned by Charles Wang, who graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and donated a football field to the school.
The Islanders have played at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, since 1972-72, but they have reportedly long sought a new home. Last year, voters in Nassau County rejected a $400 million proposal to overhaul the coliseum. The Islanders’ lease ends in 2014-15.
Wang, Barclays Arena developer Bruce Ratner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Nets CEO Brett Yormark and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz are all expected to be at the press conference at 1 p.m.
The Islanders were scheduled to play a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, but the game was canceled due to the current NHL lockout.
Barclays Arena holds 18,000 seats for basketball, and officials said it could seat about 14,500 seats for hockey games. It would be the smallest arena in the league, and there has been some debate on the blogs about whether it would be suitable for hockey.
Nassau Coliseum seats 16,234 fans, according to the Post, but the Islanders averaged 11,059 fans per game last season.
Barclays Center is accessible by 11 subway lines and the Long Island Railroad, vital for Long Island fans. In addition to being the home of the Brooklyn Nets, it has already hosted major entertainment events, such as concerts by Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand.