Time is running out on an agreement between the New York Islanders and Nassau County to reach an agreement to keep the team in Uniondale before the 2015 lease expires, and with it the Islanders on Long Island.
According to Chris Botta, the team is still looking at Brooklyn's soon-to-open Barclay's Center, home of the New Jersey Nets, as a potential home after 2015 if the team is still in New York and not say, Quebec or Seattle or the other rumored locations.
Bruce Ratner, the developer for the Barclay's Center, said he hoped "that's possible," when asked by Sporting News if they would welcome the Islanders to their neck of the woods on the outskirts of New York City.
Some, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, believe there is still time to work something out while keeping the Islanders just where they are.
"There's still time to effectuate a plan," he said. "It's beyond question that they need a new arena...We hope the alternatives continue to be on Long Island so Islanders fans, who are many and loyal, can see their team."
The Islanders will play against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 2 at the Barclay's Center, which opens this September.
There are problems, though, with moving to Brooklyn, namely the size of the arena. Barclay's is built for basketball, and when converted for hockey, it seats just 14,500, making it the smallest arena in the NHL.
Another potential issue is its proximity to the city and Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers. How this problem turns out could be known prior to a potential Islanders move, as the Nets will see how they attract fans to their arena being in Knicks country.
Would Islander fans even travel to Brooklyn to watch their team? Currently, many Islanders fans don't even travel to the Nassau Coliseum to watch their team — though I don't blame them because nothing is worse than Nassau County traffic.
There is still time, but they're really cutting it close. It's been a year since Nassau voters shot down a new building funding partially by tax-payer dollars upfront. The Islanders and the county now have less than three years to come to an agreement, fund and construct a new building, and have it ready in time for the 2015-16 season. That's a tall order.
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