Ice try! Ratner now says he wants Islanders at Barclays Center

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Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner said he’s “hoping” that the New York Islanders will move to the Barclays Center once the struggling team’s lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015 — a reversal of his longtime claim that the Prospect Heights arena would be too small to host pro hockey games.

“I would hope that’s possible,” Ratner said in an appearance on Bloomberg Television. “I certainly think there’s a chance.”

The under-construction $1-billion arena for the Brooklyn-bound Nets was floated as a possible home for the struggling Islanders after suburban voters rejected a new sports complex in August.

A deal with the National Hockey League requires the team to remain on Long Island, which includes Brooklyn at its western tip, making the Barclays Center an attractive option.

Ratner declined a request to provide more details on his vision.

But his flip-flop was the strongest indication yet that the developer is considering pro hockey for the Barclays Center, which will start hosting college basketball games and Disney on Ice next September in the lead-up to the Nets inaugural season.

Hockey was originally intended as one use for the Frank Gehry-designed arena, but plans for an ice rink were canceled after Gehry was fired two years ago to cut costs.

As currently designed, the 18,000-seat basketball arena could only fit 14,500 spectators when configured for pro hockey.

That would make it the smallest arena in the National Hockey League, though it would still accommodate an Islanders team that averaged just 11,000 fans per game last season.

Arena-area residents were not that excited that the Barclays Center would host more pro games.

“It is not a neighborhood geared towards massive amounts of ill-behaved pro sports fans,” said Patti Hagan, a longtime foe.

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Reader Feedback

John from Westminster Road says:
Yippee! Brooklyn is a city after all.
Sept. 20, 2011, 1:05 am
Norman Oder from Brooklyn says:
Here's what else Bruce Ratner said--and didn't say:
Sept. 20, 2011, 6:22 am
Bob Nystrom from Center Ice says:
Boy, I can't to piss on Peter Krashes' stoop after a game.
Sept. 20, 2011, 10:01 am
Bob Nystrom from Center Ice says:
Boy, I can't wait to piss on Peter Krashes' stoop after a game.
Sept. 20, 2011, 10:02 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
AY Opponents c2008 No one will want to use the Arena, it will be a big white elephant.

AY Opponents c2011 Too many people want to use the Arena - it will be a disaster.
Sept. 20, 2011, 10:22 am
JC from Ditmas says:
The NHL in Brooklyn would be wonderful! Good luck Ratner....where do I sign up for season tickets??
Sept. 20, 2011, 2:13 pm
Dave 2 from Park Slope says:
BS on both counts, Dave from Park Slope.
Sept. 20, 2011, 3:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just like how long time Knicks fans in Brooklyn will never convert to the Nets, neither will long time Rangers fans. Does anyone really think fans convert just like that? I think not. Back in Nassau County, nobody was against keeping the Islanders, they were against subsidizing a new arena for them, which is very different. Why should these be subsidized anyway? At least this allowed for a referendum to be used, where if it was used for the Mets, Yankees, or even Nets, Bloomberg would fear opposition if this were ever to be put to a vote, which is why he had to do it through back room deals instead.
Sept. 20, 2011, 6:58 pm
Peter Krashes from Prospect Heights says:
This article takes what I said out of context and seems to suggest I said I oppose bringing the Islanders to the arena.

I did not "blast the plan" to bring the Islanders to the arena at all. Like many in the community, now that arena is moving forward I want it to succeed, hopefully without getting in the way of future further development at the site, or unnecessarily diminishing the neighborhoods where it is located.

I do believe changes to the Atlantic Yards Project plan have increased the degree of risk that pedestrian safety will be lower and congestion will be worse around the arena block than what has been assessed in any environmental analysis. For more on that read this:
Sept. 20, 2011, 8:27 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
I've been driving out with my young son to catch Islanders games in Hempstead, and this is just fantastic news. The area can easily support another NHL team, in my opinion; lots of Nassau County residents work in Manhattan anyway, and can catch a game on their way home from work thanks to the LIRR terminal at Atlantic; and I think when you look at the convenience of having world-class hockey right here in Brooklyn, just a few blocks away, it's a no-brainer. Not that heading into the city to MSG to catch the Rangers is a real hassle – it isn't. it's just that this is going to be a lot easier for a lot of people in our borough to get to. Personally, I think the arena is going to be a huge draw for our area, and I'm jazzed about it.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Keep in mind that Neil de Mause, the author of Field of Schemes, has proven that professional sports facilities have proven not to be economic engines, and he has shown proof for this not just from his book, but also from his blog of the same name countless times.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why is hooking permitted in hockey? Now there will be streetwalkers roaming the area whenever the Islanders play a home game. That's going to ruin the neighborhood.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:42 pm
Jet from Park Slope says:
Mike is clearly not a real person living in the slope, but rather someone who is working PR for the Ratners stadium. It’s painfully obvious.
Sept. 21, 2011, 9:29 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:

We lived on Long Island during the Islanders glory years and had season tix during that time. I'd definitely go to games at the Barclay but the attendance capacity will be too small and sightlines poor for hockey. I doubt the Isles will move there permanently.

More likely is a deal with Suffolk County along the route 110 corridor or someplace in Queens. I'm guessing there's enough space for an arena by the Big A in Queens or Belmont Racetrack on the Nassau Queens border. Combine that with a real casino and you have an attraction!
Sept. 21, 2011, 5 pm
Mike says:
Sorry, Jet. I realized I might come across that way after I wrote it, but I've got no connection to Ratner and his crew at all. I'm just a 40something ex-Midwesterner dad living in the Slope since 2006, in NYC since 2001. Been searching for NYC teams to cheer for (since I'm a huge Chicago-everything fan and hate the Yankees) and discovered the Islanders 2 years ago. Nassau is a pit, but the team itself is scrappy and we've latched onto them. We really are stoked about having the Islanders potentially come to the 'hood. I keep telling my son we can just hop on the B63 and catch the Islanders (or walk if we don't feel lazy.) Here, to prove I'm not working for Ratner: with the new stadium, traffic's probably gonna suck.
Sept. 21, 2011, 5:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Seriously, if a sports facility wasn't needed to be built in that area then, why build one there now? Were times different then? Just to let you know, when Walter O'Malley wanted a stadium there for the Dodgers, he didn't want it on the Vanderbuilt Yards themselves, he actually wanted where Ratner now has his Atlantic Center Mall. Also, why do they need things such as eminent domain and subsidies as well? I don't think either the Nets or Islanders should play in Brooklyn at all. Let the Nets stay in Newark where they belong and let the Islanders stay where they are. If Ratner and Wang want new arenas so much, then they should pay for it themselves rather than milking the taxpayers. There are more important things to spend our tax dollars rather than make a rich man richer.
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:34 pm
Josef from downtown bklyn says:
Ayyo Tal:

1. isn't Pleasantville a long way from Brooklyn? so what do you care about this whole mess anyway?

2. The arena is being built. I know professional sports facilities are long shots to have major positive economic impacts on surrounding areas, and I don't like eminent domain and subsidies for Ratner either (though I would love to see the land not being built upon now eminent domained back into City control and used to put up middle income housing), but you're yelling about closing the door after the horse has left the barn.

3. I'm a basketball fan. I'll go see either the Knicks or the Nets, or even the Clippers, Bucks, etc. I like the sport. You don't have to assume people are going to change loyalties immediately for the area to draw a decent number of fans.
Sept. 23, 2011, 2:32 pm
Josef from downtown bklyn says:
Brooklyn Paper:

I've been trying to report abuse with reference to the racist comment by "umadbro? from wat says:" but the button does not seem to work. Please address ASAP.
Sept. 23, 2011, 2:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Josef, the entire state is paying for this, not just the city. In other words, it does matter, because it's my tax dollars as well. Even if it wasn't, I don't support subsidizng the rich or even allowing them to use a public process such as eminent domain to acquire property. Then again, I take it you are one of those who believes that the end will justify the means, and we should all turn a blind eye to this. I do find it an irony that you tend to go in support of this despite all that is happening. I for one do not let a developer like Ratner get away with this. BTW, those who have been fighting against this are still fighting for this. Perhaps you should go see the Battle for Brooklyn when it returns to the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and see why they are still fighting this right now.
Sept. 23, 2011, 8:49 pm
Tommy from Prospect Heights says:
Islanders were commited to Nassau, but Nassau fans turned down the plan for a new arena. So, it's time to leave Nassau and move to Brooklyn.
Jan. 11, 2012, 4:06 pm
its possible from DC says:
just as washington, DC is full of baltimore orioles fans now that DC has a team with jayson werth, soon to be prince fielder and strausburg. DC is now loving the nats over baltimore!
Jan. 25, 2012, 1:38 am

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