Could Brooklyn become the future home of the Islanders?
Brett Yormark, CEO of the Barclays Center, confirmed to Newsday that the new arena being built in Brooklyn will have an ice rink that can support a professional hockey team.
"Due to the venue's design, the capacity for hockey would be a few thousand seats less than for basketball," Yormark said in an email to Newsday. "While we hope to explore hockey opportunities in the future, our primary focus at the moment is to build the best sports and entertainment venue in the world."
Voters in a suburban New York community, already paying some of the highest property taxes in the country, overwhelmingly rejected a referendum Monday to borrow $400 million for the construction of a new hockey arena and ballpark. With 99 percent of the vote counted, the referendum failed 56 percent to 43 percent, according to unofficial returns from the Nassau County Board of Elections.
Supporters of the referendum called it a last-ditch effort to keep the Islanders playing in the Nassau Coliseum. The team's lease expires in 2015, and the hockey team's owner, Charles Wang, has hinted he may have to move the team off Long Island unless a new facility is built to replace the 39-year-old building.
The Barclays Center will hold 18,000 for basketball, according to New York Post. Nassau Coliseum seats 16,234, while the smallest arena in the NHL will be the Winnipeg Jets' home (15,015 seats).
The Barclays Center will become home to the NBA's New Jersey Nets when it opens in September 2012. A spokesman for Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told NetsDaily he is not interested in buying the Islanders: "As before, [he has] no interest in pursuing the purchase of another sports team at this time."
Prokhorov owns 45 percent of the Barclays Center.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.