Brooklyn, NY, United States (4E Sports) – For the first time, the New York Islanders stepped foot on the ice inside the Barclays Center, which will serve as their home after the 2014-15 season.
On Thursday, the Islanders took the Long Island Railroad to their first training camp practice in Brooklyn and it was worth the trip.
“I think there’s one word for it, it’s beautiful,” Islanders owner Charles Wang said of Barclays. “I’m very happy as you can see from the smile.”
“It’s going to be fun,” center Casey Cizikas said. “You could see when the Nets played in the playoffs last year against the Bulls, it was rocking and we’re going to be looking forward to the same thing. I think it’s going to be even louder for us.”
“It definitely feels really new,” captain John Tavares said. “It’s going to take some time once we really do get here to make it feel comfortable and feel right at home, but it’s a beautiful place and in a couple of years it’ll be a nice move.”
The building was primarily built to accommodate basketball and concerts but Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said the seats will be adjusted for hockey games, leaving the sellable capacity at 15,813.
“In any NHL building, you’re going to have a couple of seats scattered that don’t have total views, there might be little pinches where you can’t see,” Yormark said. “There are 416 — because I’ve sat in every seat here in the building — that have very limited views.”
Yomark also assured that the identity that the Islanders are known for will be retained, including team color and the nickname.
“What Charles and I have decided is that the Islanders colors as they are today will be the same when they get here, the name will be the same.” Yormark said.
“My job is to work with Charles and make sure that we stay true to the hardcore fan, the fan that has been there from day one. But at the same time, we also want to connect with the new fan and we’re going to do it in an appropriate way,” he added.
The Islanders will face off against the Devils in a preseason game on Sept. 21, the first NHL game ever to be played in Brooklyn.