Islanders, Devils to play at Barclays

Updated: January 31, 2012, 11:08 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- With the New York Islanders' future in Uniondale looking as tenuous as ever, the speculation about a potential move to Brooklyn intensified with Tuesday's announcement that the team will play a preseason game Oct. 2 against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center.

The exhibition game will be the first NHL game played at Barclays, which has been speculated as a potential landing spot for the Islanders once their lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015.

"We're extremely excited to play the first NHL game in the new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a news release Tuesday morning. "We already have some of the most passionate fans in the league supporting our young team, and we are looking forward to expanding our base into Brooklyn."

The Islanders have been trying for years to build a new arena to replace the antiquated, decrepit Coliseum on Long Island. Residents in Nassau County were asked in August 2011 to approve a plan to borrow $400 million to construct a hockey arena and minor league ballpark, but the public referendum failed.

Barclays Center has surfaced as a logical destination for the downtrodden team that would keep it in the New York metropolitan area.

"We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base," Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. "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 main knock on Barclays Center -- home of the New Jersey Nets starting in the 2012-13 season -- is the limited capacity. Fitted to accommodate approximately 14,500 for hockey, it would be the NHL's smallest.

MTS Centre, home of the Winnipeg Jets, currently is the smallest, with a capacity at 15,004.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.

Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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