One National Hockey League franchise may be changing locations sooner rather than later, and it might be the only franchise with a fan base that won't be angry at the potential move.
Despite a seemingly lengthy initial agreement, the relationship between the New York Islanders and the Barclay's Center seems absolutely doomed, with both sides seemingly unhappy with the current arrangement. It now sounds like the Islanders could be on the move for the second time in just a few short years, and according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg Brooklyn's loss might be Queens' gain.
From Soshnick's Bloomberg report:
Willets Point is emerging as a persuasive alternative to the team’s current home at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center if the Islanders’ owners and arena officials can’t agree on a series of hockey-specific improvements, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private.
The team’s first season at Barclays Center, which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, was marred by poor reviews from fans, who complained about obstructed view seats, and from players, who who said the quality of the ice was sub-par. The team’s owners also realized they couldn’t make as much money as their league counterparts, most of which play in bigger arenas.
The Islanders, who are owned by Value Retail Plc founder Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky, and Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, have been discussing a possible move to Queens for months, said the people.
As Bloomberg notes, Sterling Equities and its partner Related Cos. made an agreement with New York City officials to redevelop Willets Point near Citi Field, with “stores and entertainment attractions.”
It's not just some journalist reporting this either, according to a report from Yahoo Sports, Islanders owner Jonathan Ledecky stated the move to Willets Point would be a "persuasive alternative to the team’s current home at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center if the Islanders’ owners and arena officials can’t agree on a series of hockey-specific improvements."
The move from Long Island to Brooklyn has already been an unmitigated failure in the eyes of many if not most, only time will tell if a move to Queens is in the cards, and only time will tell if it proves to be a better solution than Barclay's.