It seems fair to say that the Islanders’ move to Barclays Center has not gone well.
You shouldn’t be.
Taking the Islanders out of Long Island is the hockey equivalent of taking the Packers out of Green Bay. It just doesn’t work.
Sure, the market is comparatively small when you look at their rivals in New York. Sure, the building wasn’t the best and there was desperate need for a new one — Gary Bettman once said, “There is probably no worse major league facility right now in North America than Nassau Coliseum.” And sure, Barclays Center seemed like an easy solution.
But the simple fact is that the Islanders are part of Long Island’s identity. That’s where their fans are, and with two other hockey teams in the area, it’s not as if there was much chance of converting Brooklyn into the rabid fan base the team had in Uniondale.
So when that rabid fan base dwindles instead of opting to travel more than an hour to watch their team in a building unfit for hockey, nobody should be surprised. This was a bad idea from the beginning and now the Islanders, and Barclays Center, are beginning to understand that.