Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:BROOKLYN — The Islanders spent Thursday getting to know their future home and the transportation system their Long Island fanbase will have to utilize once the team relocates in 2015.
Starting in Garden City, the team boarded a Long Island Rail Road train to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The trip took roughly 45 minutes to get to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and many of the players didn’t find it to be that bad.
“We’re just a short train ride in,” Travis Hamonic said while speaking to reporters on the train. “Today we’re seeing the simplicity of it. It’s nice and with we can hopefully gain some more fans in Brooklyn and the neat thing is we’re not alienating our fans on Long Island.”
Josh Bailey described the trip as quick and easy. “I think it will make it a lot easier for the fans,” he said.
After arriving at Atlantic Terminal and taking the short walk over to the arena, the team was greeted by Brett Yormark and Bruce Ratner in the plaza. When they made their way inside, Ratner gave the Islanders another warm welcome.
The media in attendance was then given a tour of the hockey set up for the Barclays Center. As one can imagine, the differences between the the Barclays and Nassau Coliseum. In fact Josh Bailey summed it up the best saying, “it’s obviously newer.” The state-of-the-art scoreboards, a wider concourse, first class suites and amenities are just some of the differences.
Sight Lines and Seating
One of the biggest questions regarding the Islanders relocation to Brooklyn has been the sight lines and seating capacity, and after today it’s hard to say that this will be a issue.
Are there sights with obstructed views? Yes, but the Yormark and the Barclays management are aware of them. There are, according to Yormark, 416 seats that are “limited views” and will not be sold. Despite that, Capacity for hockey is now listed at 15,813.
The Video Scoreboard
The other big concern over the Barclays Center has been the position of the scoreboard. When images were first released, the idea of the scoreboard being over the blue line instead of center ice, created a major stir. Though, when you see it in person, it isn’t as egregious as it was initially thought to be. In fact after a few moments it is hardly noticeable.
And from other angles you’d never know the difference to begin with.
The Isles used the basketball locker room for Thursday’s practice, and likely use it next Saturday when they play the New Jersey Devils, but they will get their own locker rooms when they move into the Barclays Center in 2015. They will be designed by AECOM.
Player Reactions to Barclays Center
“It’s going to be our home in a couple years and we wanted to get acclimated with it. This being the first time here it’s pretty cool.” – Kyle Okposo
“First off when you see out side it’s obviously, I don’t know if futuristic is the right word, but it’s not like anything you’ve really seen before. It’s definitely different. It’s kind of got that rust finish, which I thought was pretty cool. You walk up off the train and you come around the corner and you see the huge Barclys sign right in front. It’s definitely a different atmosphere. There’s a lot more going on. There’s a lot of shopping. It’s kind of a busy area. It’s a different feel, but you walk into the building it’s open right away. You can see the ice, you can see the scoreboard, and that’s not something you see in a lot of arenas. That’s something definitely when you walk through the front doors it’s kind of a wow factor.” – Matt Martin
“It definitely feels really new. There will be an adjustment once we do get here to make it feel comfortable. Make it really feel right at home, but it’s a beautiful place and in a couple years it will be a nice move.” – John Tavares
“It was great. We didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t seen the rink yet. I was looking forward to getting down here and seeing it. You can tell it’s going to be a great atmosphere. I think the seats are right on top of you and that makes for a heck of an atmosphere. I think fans are going to like it, players are going to love playing here, and I’m certainly hoping I’m dressing for that first game here next Saturday.” – Josh Bailey