Friday, September 13, 2013

Islanders take LIRR to get first look at new home inside Barclays Center

How do you get  play hockey at Barclays Center? Practice, practice, practice. Then take the LIRR.

That's exactly how the Islanders got to say Hello Brooklyn and get a look at their future home on Thursday after taking the Long Island Railroad to the ice inside Brooklyn’s House That Jay Z Built for training camp.

The team left together from Garden City, Long Island and took the commuter train to Atlantic Avenue, simulating the trek from the Island will have to make in order to watch their team once the Isles vacate their Nassau County home for  Brooklyn after the 2014-2015 season.

“I think there’s one word for it, it’s beautiful,” Islanders owner Charles Wang said of Barclays. “I’m very happy as you can see from the smile.”

Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark and Wang say the team will keep the same colors and nickname when the NHL franchise moves to Brooklyn.

Yormark did say that the Islanders would likely introduce a patch on their uniforms and unveil an alternate home jersey in order to "speak to Brooklyn fans in an authentic way."

The Islanders will face off against the Devils in a preseason game on Sept. 21, the first NHL game ever to be played in Brooklyn.

“It’s going to be fun,” center Casey Cizikas said. “You could see when the Nets played in the playoffs last year against the Bulls, it was rocking and we’re going to be looking forward to the same thing. I think it’s going to be even louder for us.”

While the building was primarily built to accommodate basketball and concerts, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark says obstructed view seating will not be offered for hockey games, leaving the sellable capacity at 15,813.

"My job is to work with Charles and make sure that we stay true to the hardcore fan,"said Yormark. "The fan that has been there from day one. But at the same time, we also want to connect with the new fan and we’re going to do it in an appropriate way."

Though the New York Americans played their final NHL season in 1941-42 as the Brooklyn Americans, they played all their games at the Garden and practiced at the Brooklyn Ice Palace.

"It definitely feels really new," captain John Tavares said.

"It’s going to take some time once we really do get here to make it feel comfortable and feel right at home," said Tavares.  "But it’s a beautiful place and in a couple of years it’ll be a nice move. ... It’ll almost feel like playing in a neutral site, but we’re looking forward to the game." 

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