The New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn from Long Island beginning in the 2015-16 season, owner Charles Wang announced Wednesday. The name and logo will remain the same.
The Islanders will be leaving Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum after the lease is up there for the new Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
Wang announced a 25-year lease with the Barclays Center, shaping the announcement as keeping the Islanders in the New York market. He said it has been a “long journey” for the team and its fans.
“In support of the illustrious history of the team, the New York Islanders name and logo will remain unchanged,” the team wrote in a press release.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that some people figured the rivalry between the Islanders and New York Rangers couldn’t get any more heated.
“It just did,” he said.
Wang has not made many friends with his demands for a new arena and threats to move the Islanders once the lease expires following the 2014-15 season. Nassau County residents voted down a referendum that would have allowed the team to borrow $400 million to build a new hockey arena in Uniondale.
“No one has done more to retain the New York Islanders than my administration,” Nassau County executive Ed Mangano wrote on Twitter. “I have supported various proposals to redevelop the HUB including a public referendum in which voters chose not to construct a new sports arena. Its sad and unfortunate that political opponents chose to oppose my plan and instead continued to support the Culture of NO on Long Island.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who has time and again voiced his opposition to relocating franchises except as a last resort, said as recently as April that Brooklyn might not be a viable location for the Islanders.
“I can’t wait to watch the puck drop on this new Brooklyn chapter,” general manager Garth Snow said.