PRESS CONFERENCE — Islanders Join Nets in Brooklyn With 25-Year Deal
Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:
At a press conference today in Brooklyn, the Islanders announced a 25-year long partnership with the brand new Barclays Center arena. The move comes after years of inaction and road blocks in their current home of Nassau County, while trying to build anew arena or renovate the 40 year old Nassau Coliseum. The deal erases any lingering doubts that the team would leave the New York area for Kansas City, Quebec or any other North American hockey market as it does not have an opt-out clause for the team.
Islanders owner Charles Wang was joined by many in the organization including President Michael Picker, GM Garth Snow, Assistant Coach Doug Weight, and team legend Mike Bossy at the Barclays Center. Also in attendance were NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barclays Center CEO Bruce Ratner, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
At the press conference it was announced the team would keep the name ‘Islanders’, use the same logo, and would start play at the Barclays Center in the 2015-16 season, after their lease with Nassau County runs out. Wang also stated that he was keeping ownership of the team and would honor the team’s current lease with Nassau.
“I think this will be a phenomenally successful venture,” Bloomberg told the assembled media, fans, and others watching via online stream. “It’s a great day for our city. Who said the rivalry between Rangers and Islanders couldn’t get bigger?”
Possibly getting ahead of himself, Bloomberg handed Wang and Snow Metrocards, telling them it would help them get to New York City’s Canyon of Heroes for a future Stanley Cup parade.
Barclays Center CEO Bruce Ratner also welcomed the Islanders group, saying “Charles had offers to move the team out of state, very good offers, and Charles didn’t do that.”
As for how the team would handle a smaller arena — advertised to hold only 14,500 fans — Bettman said that he expected seating to be increased north of 15,000 seats within the next few years.
The team also announced that they are now taking deposits for season tickets for the 2015-16 season, at $200 a piece.