Brooklyn Islanders logo mock-up via Tom Fulery. Not the real logo ... yet.
On Wednesday afternoon at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the following people are scheduled to participate in a press conference:
New York Islanders Owner Charles B. Wang, Barclays Center Majority Owner and Developer Bruce Ratner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark.
That's a collection of heavy hitters that aren't showing up for, like, a few preseason games and an appearance by John Tavares at a Nets game.
Developer Bruce Ratner has scored a major goal by landing the Islanders ice hockey team for his Barclay's arena in downtown Brooklyn, sources said.
… Ratner had said earlier that he was "trying like hell" to lure the Islanders to Brooklyn from Long Island and called a planned exhibition game against the Devils, which was canceled due to the NHL lockout, an audition for the city's newest arena.
Well-connected former New York Islanders exec Chris Botta of Sports Business Daily confirms via a source: "Isles set to play in Brooklyn in 2015."
Yes, all the way to Brooklyn. Like, a full hour away from where they are now.
UPDATE: Watch a live stream of the press conference here:
The Isles' lease in Nassau County is up in 2015, and their struggles to finance a new arena have been legendary. Public referendums have failed. Local elected officials haven't rallied to the cause. Owners Charles Wang claims he's losing $20 million a year in a dilapidated building.
So Brooklyn moved into the conversation last year as a potential new home for the Islanders. (And with it came a billion hockey hipster jokes; when is ironic glasses and 1920s retro hat night?)
Said Nets CEO Brett Yormark to Botta in July:
"We are interested in bringing NHL hockey to Brooklyn. We feel very strongly about Brooklyn as a hockey market and know we can accommodate it from a building perspective."
The arena holds 14,500 for hockey, which is a miniscule capacity that would need significant ticket price hikes (and fans in the seats) to be profitable. The Islanders would also need some infrastructure changes to the locker room facilities and, in theory, a practice facility nearby.
So the Islanders will remain in New York, which was always one of Gary Bettman's intentions in managing this crisis, but will leave their Nassau County home it appears.
The Brooklyn Islanders? Another name?
Will it be a new fan base? The old fan base traveling on LIRR and bus lines to games? Will it be the old fan base telling the new fan base that they liked the Islanders before it was cool to like the Islanders, in an awesome bit of reverse hipster cred?
All we know is: By 2015, they'll be a contender in their new home.
And they'll probably be wearing black.
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