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Islanders fans: At least the team will stay in NY

Fans congregate as New York Islanders owner Charles

Fans congregate as New York Islanders owner Charles Wang announces the team's move to the Barclays Center in 2015 at a press conference at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Oct. 24, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Islanders fans on Wednesday reacted to the club's planned move to Brooklyn with disappointment and resignation -- and relief that the team is staying in New York.

Fans said they weren't surprised: The failure of a referendum last year to renovate 40-year-old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum likely sealed the Islanders' fate, they said.

"I think it's terrible for Nassau County," said Don Becker, 39, of Valley Stream. But, he added, "Keeping them in the area is probably the most important thing. It's the best thing for the team."

Longtime fan Jim Moeller, 37, of Centerport, said he plans to attend more games in Brooklyn than he has in recent years because he works in Manhattan.

"I think it's fantastic," he said. " . . . Now I can take a train to Brooklyn.

"It gives them a little bit of life. It gives them a little bit of a jolt, which they need."

But Matthew Szekalski, 21, of Bay Shore, said he was disappointed by the move and said he would go to fewer games in Brooklyn. "On top of the ticket prices, I'm going to have to pay for a LIRR ticket," he said. "I can't imagine [Islanders] ticket prices won't go up, so it's going to be more expensive."

The move would hurt business at Champions restaurant in the Long Island Marriott hotel in Uniondale, said senior food and beverage manager Anthony Camoia. The restaurant, across the parking lot from Nassau Coliseum, prominently displays autographed Bryan Trottier and John Tavares jerseys.

Depending on the opponent, he said, business often doubles when the Islanders play at the Coliseum. Already the restaurant has lost business because of the NHL lockout, Camoia said.

"It shows you what it would look like" to lose the Islanders permanently, he said.

Fans said they hope the team finds new fans in Brooklyn and Queens. Moeller said the move might help the club attract star free agents.

"Better Brooklyn than out of town," said Jameson Canning, 23, of Mineola, who took photographs Wednesday outside the Coliseum. "At least we can still go to the games."

After years of rumors that the Islanders would leave New York, Becker said he was happy they will be a train ride away.

"They're only moving 20 miles away," Becker said. "It's certainly better than seeing them win the Stanley Cup in Portland or Seattle or Kansas City."

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