Players, fans gear up for Isle's first taste of Brooklyn hockey
The Islanders won't be calling Barclays Center their home until the 2015-16 season, but Brooklyn puck fans will get their first taste on Saturday when the team hosts the Devils for a preseason game at the arena.
The game will be the first major league hockey game in Brooklyn in the borough's history, and the excitement is already buzzing. More than 11,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's preseason game, which won't be televised, and a quarter of those tickets belong to local residents, according to Fred Mangione, the chief marketing officer and chief revenue officer for Barclays Center.
"It shows hockey is developing a foundation in the borough and Brooklynites are excited about the arrival of the Islanders," he said in a statement.
Although there never has been a professional-level faceoff in Brooklyn, the borough is no stranger to hockey.
The New York Aviators, a short-lived team that played in the Federal Hockey League between 2009 and 2012, played its games at the Aviator Sports and Events Center near Floyd Bennett Field. During its last season, the team played under the name of the Brooklyn Aviators.
A defunct NHL team, the New York Americans, adapted Brooklyn, becoming the Brooklyn Americans for their 1941-42 season.
But they played their games at Madison Square Garden.
Islanders players have taken a liking to the new arena, where they practiced last week.
Isles forward Matt Moulson said he is excited to play before screaming Brooklynites, especially the newcomers to the sport.
"This is going to be pretty good for a hockey game," he told reporters. "The setup and atmosphere is going to make for a real energetic crowd."