Monday, March 12, 2012
Barclays Center may host KHL games
By Mike Mazzeo
Barclays Center officials are currently in discussions with Russia's Kontinental Hockey League about hosting some regular season games at the Nets’ future home in Brooklyn next season, according to Brett Yormark, CEO of the $1 billion arena.
“Hockey will have a place at Barclays Center,” Yormark said Monday in an e-mailed statement.
SovSport, a Russian sports website, first reported the possibility.
“I had a good meeting with the head of the NHL, Gary Bettman ... [and] discussed many important questions,” KHL president Alexander Medvedev told SovSport, according to a Yahoo! Sports translation. “We decided that when the basketball club finishes building its arena in Brooklyn, KHL Legends Game and regular season games will be held there. We are continuing to improve the relationship between the KHL and the NHL."
Medvedev told SovSport that the NHL “promised they won’t oppose” the plan.
The Nets are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who recently lost the country’s presidential election.
The Islanders and Devils will play a preseason game at Barclays Center on Oct. 2. There has been speculation that the Islanders could move to Brooklyn when their lease expires at the Nassau Coliseum in 2015.
"We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base," Yormark said back in January. "Barclays Center will also afford current Islander fans with great accessibility, as the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines will come directly to the arena at the Atlantic Terminal transit hub."
The only problem with the Barclays Center is that it is able to accommodate only about 14,500 for hockey, which would be the smallest capacity in the NHL. The MTS Centre, where the Winnipeg Jets play, houses just 15,004, the current smallest capacity in the league.