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Charles Wang: Even after move, Isles will be 'part of Long Island'

Islanders owner Charles Wang attends a news conference

Islanders owner Charles Wang attends a news conference announcing that the franchise will move from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale to play at Brooklyn's Barclays Center starting in 2015. (Oct. 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Charles Wang spoke bluntly and frankly Thursday about the Islanders' pending move to Brooklyn, but the owner had little to say about the team's recent success on the ice.

Why? "I'm not jinxing it; I'm not saying anything," he said, smiling, after his appearance at a Sports Business Journal symposium in downtown Brooklyn.

"They're doing very well and we're proud of what we've accomplished up to now, but we're still not there yet."

The on-ice mini-revival coincides with the planned move to Barclays Center, scheduled for 2015-16 but possibly as early as 2014-15.

Wang said Brooklyn is certain to help in attracting players after an era in which he recalled some free agents "told us point-blank: I don't want to play there." He called that period of uncertainty "six years of hell."

As he did when the Brooklyn deal first was announced last fall, Wang said there would be no rebranding near the scale of the Nets' transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

"We are the New York Islanders," he said. "Brett is a master marketer. He is very, very good. We've been listening to him. But we're not going to rename the team. The colors are the same. The logo is the same.

"We'll probably do things to recognize our home now in Brooklyn, but nothing is going to dramatically change."

Wang said there might be an alternate third jersey that will reference the borough, but he added, "We're part of Long Island still."

Wang lauded the 14,500 "unbelievable seats" at Barclays Center, including "great sight lines," but acknowledged there are others with obstructed views. He also praised the mass transit access to Barclays Center, saying, "It's only 30 miles from Mineola by train. I come by train. Now, after we start the seasons here, if we lose, I'm not going to go back by train. I'm smarter than that."

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