The New York Islanders will leave Long Island for Brooklyn, sharing the new Barclays Center with the Nets, a league source told ESPN The Magazine’s Craig Custance.
The team has scheduled a “major announcement” for 1 p.m. ET Wednesday. Commissioner Gary Bettman, mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, Islanders general manager Garth Snow and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets chief executive Brett Yormark will be in attendance.
The Islanders’ lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, and the team has been trying to secure a new arena near the site for some time.
The move to Brooklyn isn’t without complications. Under current plans, Barclays Center would only hold 14,500 for hockey, and sources familiar with the facility were skeptical of the arena’s long-term viability to be the home of an NHL franchise. At 15,004, Winnipeg’s MTS Centre currently has the NHL’s smallest capacity.
In an April interview with the Associated Press, Bettman sounded lukewarm about the idea of the Islanders moving to Brooklyn.
“Barclays, I suppose on some level, is an option,” he said at the time.
The NHLs commissioner, however, has been consistent in his stance that the outdated Coliseum is no longer suitable for NHL hockey once the lease expires.