[Update Below] With the NHL still locked out, what hockey fan wouldn't want a bit of good news? And NYC hockey fans? Oh boy, you might (big might here!) be about to get some awesome news. According to the New York Islanders website the team is set to make "a major announcement" at Barclays Center this afternoon. Yup, we are as intrigued as you are.
All the release says is that "New York Islanders Owner Charles B. Wang, Barclays Center Majority Owner and Developer Bruce Ratner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark" will be on hand for the 1 p.m. announcement. But with the team previously set to play one game in the newest arena in NYC, the idea they might permanently move to Brooklyn (or play a certain percentage of their games there) does not seem beyond the realm of possibility.
Still, speculation of a Brooklyn move has been high for some time now. Last year, Wang's plan to renovate Nassau Coliseum was shot down in a referendum by voters highly reluctant to sink taxpayer money into a $400 million facelift. The Islanders’ lease with the Coliseum expires in 2015, and Wang said after the defeat, “We will honor our lease.”
Hello Brooklyn? When we know more, we'll let you know! But do note the release points out "Located atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City, Barclays Center is accessible by 11 subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and 11 bus lines."
Update: The announcement is still a few hours away, but rumors are swirling (and seem increasingly like fact) that yes, indeed, the Islanders will be moving to Brooklyn in 2015. Only downside? Barclays will be able to hold a lot fewer hockey fans than it can hold basketball fans. Because of the way it was designed, showing hockey in the arena requires removing a number of seats. And with just 14,500 available for hockey games Barclays will be the smallest hockey arena in the league.