When the Islanders face the Devils Sept. 21 in a preseason game at Barclays Center, the official seating capacity will be 15,813, the Isles announced at a media tour of the Barclays hockey configuration.
That figure -- up from an original projection of "around 15,000" -- would keep the Isles' new building from being the smallest in the league when the team moves to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season. "It's a good number," Islanders owner Charles Wang said Thursday. "We're very happy with the place."
When Wang and Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner announced last Oct. 24 that the Islanders will be moving to Brooklyn, the hockey seating capacity was projected to be right around 15,000. That would have given the Isles the smallest home arena in the league.
But Ratner and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark have configured the seating to accommodate closer to 16,000 seats, and that is without 416 seats at the obstructed end that will not be sold because of the view. Some of those 15,813 are obstructed-view seats, but Yormark said the arena plans to add roughly 75 to 100 premium, ice-level seats, which could move the capacity even higher.
The MTS Centre in Winnipeg has the smallest capacity of any NHL arena at 15,004. Nassau Coliseum, the Isles' current home, holds 16,178 and is next on the list.
During the tour, Ratner displayed renderings of the Islanders' locker room, a state-of-the-art space that Ratner said "will make other teams' players envious when they see it."
Wang said he is open to playing games at Barclays Center next season.
"We've always wanted to get here as soon as possible," he said, "but the plan is to honor our lease."