Islanders set to play at Barclays Center starting in 2015
Brooklyn's sports game is getting another boost, as the Islanders are set to make the Barclays Center their new home, officials said Wednesday.
The team, currently based at Nassau County's rundown Nassau Coliseum, will start playing at the brand new Brooklyn arena in 2015, and is signed on for a 25-year commitment.
"Hello, Brooklyn!" Wang said when he announced the move in Brooklyn Wednesday, adding that the deal is "iron clad" and doesn't have an opt-out clause.
I "look forward to a long successful future in Brooklyn," he said. "It was our goal from day one to keep the Islanders in the local New York area."
Wang said he turned down better deals from out-of-state suitors, and that he will remain the sole majority owner and doesn't have any intention to sell the team.
The team's name and logo will not be changed.
Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner said he "couldn't have found a better partner than Charles Wang."
"Charles wanted to keep them in the state of New York and local," Ratner said. "I want to say this: Charles Wang is the real hero today. He has kept this team in New York State."
The announcement came 40 years to the month after the Islanders first dropped a puck at the Coliseum, and the team has played only there since it opened as an expansion team in 1972-73.
But their lease at the Coliseum expires in 2015 -- and Wang made it clear he had no intention of the Islanders playing in the outdated arena, which opened on Feb. 11, 1972, after the expiration.
Still, not everyone was pleased with the deal.
Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said it's "a sad day for Nassau County and unfortunately another crippling hit to our local economy.
"To lose the Islanders, Nassau's only professional sports franchise, is an epic failure of leadership at all levels. We must immediately start working on new ideas for the Hub so that the Coliseum does not sit as a crumbling eyesore for generations."
The team was once considered the most-successful expansion team in U.S. professional sports history, falling one game short of the Stanley Cup finals in just their third season -- and winning the Stanley Cup four straight times from 1980-83. The Islanders have not won a playoff series since 1992-93.