“Charles got offers to move the team out of state, and very good offers, and Charles wouldn’t do that,” said Ratner as he welcomed the first NHL team to call Brooklyn home. “Charles wanted to keep them in the state of New York and local.”
Wang also made clear that he plans on honoring the existing lease with Nassau County to remain in the Coliseum until the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, but added that “anything can happen in terms of breaking the lease.”
The current seating capacity for an NHL game at Barclays Center is estimated to be approximately 14,500 seats, Bettman said, but he expects that number to grow to about 15,000 by the time the Islanders move in and doesn’t foresee it being an issue. The Coliseum holds a little more than 16,000 people.
When asked about fans who live in eastern parts of Nassau County and Suffolk County and how this move impacts them Wang said, “It may take a little longer (to get to the game), but I hope their love for the Islanders will continue and (they) support us.”
Mike Bossy, the Islanders all-time leading goal scorer and current vice president of corporate sponsorships, said the team would do everything possible to make fans and sponsors feel welcome in the new arena.
Bloomberg, who took the subway to attend the press conference, said the arena is easy to get to. “There’s more mass transit under this building than other stadium in New York City,” he said.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano took to Twitter with a statement on the move. "No one has done more to retain the New York Islanders than my administration," he said. "I have supported various proposals to redevelop the HUB including a public referendum in which voters chose not to construct a new sports arena. It's sad and unfortunate that political opponents chose to oppose my plan and instead continued to support the culture of no on Long Island."