To say the marriage between the New York Islanders and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. – where the Isles have called home since 2015 – has been a rocky one would be an understatement.
It’s why it comes as no surprise that the marriage is likely to come to an end, as Bloomberg is reporting that the Barclays Center could be on the verge of giving the boot to the Islanders, which began playing home games at the four-year-old arena last fall following 43 years at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.
The move to Brooklyn has been disastrous for the franchise. The building was designed for basketball, its primary use being for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. It’s been a poor design for hockey as a result, the ice conditions unsatisfactory with the sight lines for the fans being even worse. As if the poor sight lines weren’t enough, getting to the rink is a trek for the Islanders core fanbase, which is largely composed of western and central Long Island.
Should the Barclays Center pull the plug, the Islanders would remain in Brooklyn through the 2018-19 season. However, the Isles can leave after next season should they opt out.
This poses the question as to where the Islanders would move. There have been reports of arena plans in Queens and Belmont Park, but nothing has got off the ground. The franchise sought for years to get a new facility built in Nassau County, but never could garner enough support which ultimately led to the move to Brooklyn.
The last resort, of course, would be relocation, which would be the ultimate kick in the gut for Islanders fans, who have stuck with the team through thick and thin since the early-1980s Islanders dynasty ended over three decades ago. The fanbase was just beginning to believe that it had something special on its hands with a promising young core built around world-class talent John Tavares, and still well could.
Hopefully that promising future will come in New York.