Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said Monday that the team has made progress in improving the atmosphere and amenities at Barclays Center, which drew mixed reviews from fans and players during the team’s first season in Brooklyn.
“It’s going to be our home for years to come,” Ledecky said in an informal meeting with reporters after a memorial ceremony for Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour, who died a year ago Sunday.
Ledecky, however, declined to say if that meant many years or just a few, when a potential opt-out could be activated.
“The last time I looked I’m not the predictor of the future,” Ledecky said. “Right now, I’m focused on one thing and that’s getting the fifth ring for our fan base. That’s the most important thing.”
Ledecky’s comments came a little more than a month after Newsday reported the Islanders have talked with the New York Mets about building a hockey arena alongside Citi Field in Queens and have spoken with New York State officials about moving the team to a new building that would be constructed near Belmont Park in Nassau County.
Multiple sources have said the Islanders and Barclays Center have opt-out clauses in their licensing agreement (in which the arena management controls the team’s ticket and marketing operations). If the clauses are exercised by either side, the Islanders could leave after their fourth year in Brooklyn.
In addition to fans voicing their concerns about Barclays Center, players also had concerns about the quality of the ice.
“We learned a lot of great lessons about Barclays in the first year,” said Ledecky, who, along with partner Scott Malkin, took over majority ownership from Charles Wang on July 1.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in the offseason with Brooklyn, in terms of ice quality, in terms of the facility itself, in terms of making sure that the players and their families are welcomed and hosted in the right way,” he said.
Other improvements include upgraded transportation for the players, who live and practice on Long Island. Ledecky also announced an alumni weekend and other efforts to connect with Islanders players who won four Stanley Cups in the 1980s.