The Islanders made their Barclays Center debut on Thursday, riding the Long Island Rail Road to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, walking across Atlantic Avenue just past rush hour and hitting the ice for the first time in their future home.
“The Islanders complete this place,” Barclays Center CEO Bruce Ratner said during a tour for assembled media. “We have an NHL team in Brooklyn.”
Thursday was the first time media viewed the arena set up for hockey. Capacity is 15,813, far higher than some projected -- though one end of the building has several hundred obstructed view seats, where fans would not be able to see the net or most of the zone below them.
Renderings of the Islanders’ new locker room were shown, though construction has not begun. That reinforces Ratner’s words from last month that the Islanders are not likely to move before their Nassau Coliseum lease runs out after the 2014-15 season. Ratner won the bid from Nassau County to develop the Coliseum site, leading to speculation Islanders owner Charles Wang could move the team to Brooklyn at the end of this season.
For now, the only public appearance the Isles will make in Brooklyn will be Sept. 21 for a preseason game against the Devils.