The plan to abandon the Islanders' familiar goal horn in favor of a new, subway-themed sound abruptly derailed Thursday.
Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark announced on ESPN New York radio's "The Michael Kay Show" that the traditional horn would remain for the team's first season in Brooklyn.
"I read between the lines," Yormark said, speaking of the mostly harsh, negative reaction to the new horn on social media. "We want the fans to have a great experience at Barclays Center. So after meeting with my team today and understanding the pros and cons of going with something that's a little bit more Brooklyn versus something that's been around for a while, we decided that for opening night we will go back to the goal horn that has been around for years.
"I'm not acquiescing to the Islanders fans, what I am doing is doing the right thing. And the right thing is welcoming the Islanders fans to Brooklyn, do it the right way, and we feel this is part of that process."
Kay asked Yormark to clarify whether he meant the old horn would be in place for opening night or for the entire season and Yormark said, "For the season, but at the same time I just want them to understand there has to be a balance of new and old in order to grow this fan base but also maintain the hardcore fan base that currently exists."
Whether or not he "acquiesced," Yormark was blunt in his frustration over the tone of some fans' input.
"Personally I don't respect the way they approached it," he said. When Kay asked to whom he was referring, Yormark said, "The Islanders fans. How they attacked our Twitter handle, the vocabulary which they used to reference me and our organization."
Said Kay: "Welcome to Twitter, Brett."
Said Yormark, "I understand that, but at the same token I don't appreciate it. That being said, I agree with you, but they also have to look at this thing as what have we done."
Yormark said the Islanders have brought their banners with them to the new arena, along with the Nassau Coliseum organ, as well as the Coliseum public address announcers, and have integrated past Islanders greats into their marketing.
"We have done an enormous amount of work making sure we maintain the traditions," he said. "The only two things that even speak of Brooklyn are our third jersey and this goal horn idea, and we will continue to explore ways to infuse a little Brooklyn. But I will do my best not to compromise any traditions. But I just need Islanders fans to understand there must be a balance."
Yormark said that of the 650 names on a petition to keep the old goal horn, only 30 were season ticket subscribers.
"My point here is, it's great to comment about what we're doing and be critical of it," he said, "but I would ask all those people that signed the petition, now that you've got your goal horn, to sign up and buy season seats -- my sales team is standing by right now -- and support the Islanders in Brooklyn.
"Don't support them via just Twitter. Don't just send out your criticism for what we're doing, but vote with your wallet, support them with your wallet and come see Islanders hockey in Brooklyn."
Before making his announcement about the goal horn, Yormark sought to put the controversy into context, saying:
"First and foremost I think we've been very sensitized to the traditions of Islanders hockey. We've done a lot of research. We've listened to the fans. I personally have spent a lot of time out there on Long Island, as has my team. We take it very seriously, the job of relocating them here into the borough of Brooklyn and making sure we do it the right way.
"At the same time, though, we must broaden the fan base. We must reach out to Brooklynites and areas beyond Brooklyn in order to grow this fan base, in order to make this move very viable from lots of different perspectives."
Of the alternate third uniform, he said, "It has nothing to do with the Nets. The colors of the borough are black and white. We need to connect and cement this team in Brooklyn in a couple of ways. One of the ways to do that is to identify this team with the colors of the borough but at the same time we were very, very sensitive to the traditions of Islanders hockey, and if you look at that jersey the four stripes represent the four Stanley Cups. There is some trim in orange and blue that infuses, obviously, the heritage and history of the team.
"So everything we've done has really taken the Islander faithful into account, but also at the same time trying to create a little balance in making this team Brooklyn's team also. And if we can get to the point where the old and the new kind of meet each other in the right place we're going to have a special moment in Brooklyn. And the jersey really was one of the only things that we've done in order to connect to the Brooklyn fan.
"The other thought we had obviously was the goal horn and how do we do something that is authentic to Brooklyn, authentic to the subway and authentic to bringing the team into an urban market. So we felt that was a good idea and we will continue to explore ways in which we can identify this team in Brooklyn but not at the expense of taking away some of the core and meaningful traditions that have been around for years, because obviously we want to welcome Islanders fans from Long Island to Brooklyn. We want them to come as often as they want to. And we obviously want to embrace them."
Yormark said that to date of the "total universe" of ticket buyers 33 percent are from Manhattan and Brooklyn and 30 percent from Nassau and Suffolk.