Brooklyn’s got another sports team! The New York Islanders, aka the Long Island Islanders, aka New York’s other hockey team, are moving west to the Barclays Center, pending the NHL’s approval; the earliest they might be rooted full time in Brooklyn is 2015. Considering that, geographically, Brooklyn is a part of Long Island, this isn’t a really profound move in terms of distance or location. What it does represent is an attempt by the Islanders to reinvigorate a stagnant franchise that finished second-to-last in the league in average attendance last year, with only 13,000 fans per game. Fortunately for the Islanders, the Barclays Center can only hold 19,000 total, and 17,732 for Nets games, meaning that the Islanders do have a legitimate shot at filling the arena, particularly with the added attention that comes from being located in Brooklyn. Of course, this all depends on hockey returning from the current lockout and some degree of fan interest remaining afterward.
Although the Islanders have a winning percentage of only 45% over the last five years, they were actually a dynasty in the late ’70s and early ’80s, winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1979-1983. The question of whether or not they’ll be a success in Brooklyn should depend almost entirely on they’re regaining at least some shred of that former glory; in a borough that now has an NBA team and a decent college basketball squad — GO LIU-BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS — there’s certainly room to create a new genre of multi-sport fan.
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