The Brooklyn buzz has been palpable. The Nets make their official debut in the borough next week at the uber-new Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue. But before the Nets tip off the season, there is word that they’ll have co-tenants. The New York Islanders are headed for Brooklyn starting with the 2015-16 season, The New York Times reports.
The deal between Islanders owner Charles Wang and Barclays owner Bruce Ratner was expected to take place this afternoon.
FishbowlNY was unable to confirm the story, but YES Network’s Ian Eagle, the longtime Nets announcer, knew the handwriting was on the Nassau Coliseum wall.
“I’m not surprised,” Eagle tells FishbowlNY. “That was not going the way that Charles Wang had hoped for.”
Wang had been desperately seeking repairs to the rundown Coliseum in Uniondale, where the Islanders have been since joining the NHL in 1972, or a brand new home on Long Island.
“I think this became the next best option and a chance to latch on to some of the buzz,” Eagle says.
Last August, Nassau County voters gave an emphatic no to spend $400 million to upgrade the arena, making Wang’s move inevitable, if not completely ideal.
“It’s going to be a smaller arena for hockey,” Eagle says. “The building was built with basketball in mind.”
But Eagle says a few run-throughs were done for Wang and Islanders GM Garth Snow, showing “Barclays on Ice.”
“They still are priding themselves on being a multi-purpose arena,” Eagle says. “You just look at the amount of events that they’ve already put in there. They’re not resting on their laurels.”