In three years, the New York Islanders will no longer be Nassau County's team. Islanders officials announced on Wednesday that they will be moving the team to the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, when their lease at the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale expires in 2015.
At an afternoon press conference at the Barclays Center, team owner Charles Wang announced that the team has signed a 25-year lease to play there, beginning with the 2015-16 hockey season. The arena is also the new home of the Brooklyn Nets.
“Hello, Brooklyn,” Wang said as he began his address in which he formally announced his team’s move.
“Our goal from the outset was to have the Islanders play in a local, world-class facility that presents the amenities that our fans deserve,” he said. “I’m happy to announce that we have achieved that goal with today’s announcement.”
Wang was joined by National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barclays Center majority owner Bruce Ratner, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow and others.
The Islanders have threatened for years to move out of the Coliseum when their lease expires following the 2014-15 season if a new facility isn't built. Last year, Nassau County voters defeated a referendum that would have publicly financed a new arena. In the months following the referendum vote, Wang made it clear that he would explore all options with respect to the future of the Islanders, and ultimately partnered with his good friend, Ratner.