Islanders will move to Brooklyn in 2015

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner, and owner Charles Wang are all smiles.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner, and owner Charles Wang are all smiles.

NEW YORK — The New York Islanders finally have a new home, and it’s in Brooklyn, the borough that is suddenly a hotbed of pro sports 54 years after baseball’s Dodgers headed west.

‘‘It’s a new place and it’s only 35 minutes away by train,’’ team owner Charles Wang said at a news conference Wednesday. ‘‘Come and join us and see hockey.’’

After seven months of negotiations, including offers to move the team out of New York, Wang announced that the Islanders will relocate about 25 miles west once their lease expires at Nassau Coliseum after the 2014-15 season.


Since the day the Islanders entered the NHL in 1972, Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale has been their home. It’s where they grabbed the hockey spotlight, outshined the Rangers, and won four Stanley Cups from 1980-83.

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But on Wednesday, the future became all about Brooklyn. The move is hardly shocking and not even unprecedented. The New York Nets left Nassau Coliseum way back when, relocated to New Jersey, and have moved into their new Brooklyn home — the new Barclays Center that also will house the Islanders.

Unlike the Nets, who changed the team logo and added Brooklyn to their name, the Islanders are sticking to their heritage.

That is important to Mike Bossy, a Hockey Hall of Famer now serves as the Islanders vice president of corporate partnerships.

“As much as people may be upset because it’s not going to be in Nassau County, they should be happy because he kept the team in New York,’’ said Bossy.


The Barclays Center sits across the street from the site where Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley hoped to put a baseball stadium to keep his club in New York, but the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1958 and the borough was without a major pro sports franchise until the Nets’ arrival this year.

Real estate developer Bruce Ratner, a minority owner of the Nets, was instrumental in getting the Barclays Center built. The building is the main part of a $3.5 billion sports arena, business, and residential complex called Atlantic Yards that was built by Ratner’s company.

‘‘He got offers to move the team out of state — good offers — but Charles wouldn’t do that,’’ Ratner said. ‘‘Charles is the real hero here today.’’