Brooklyn ice: NHL’s Islanders to Barclays in 2015

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“It took us 25 minutes to get here today,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. “We didn’t turn our back (on fans). This announcement has shown that the key is that we stayed local and we got a first-class facility. We’re happy that our fans are still able to come and watch us play as the New York Islanders.”

Last year, voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum _ backed by Wang _ that would have allowed Nassau County to borrow $400 million to build a new hockey arena. Earlier this year, county officials announced they were seeking proposals to open the 77-acre parcel to any developer interested in proposing new ideas for the site. An announcement on those proposals was expected to be released any day.

County Executive Edward Mangano backed the referendum as a way of keeping the hockey team from leaving along with spurring economic development and job growth. In a statement, Mangano said an economic team will be formed to redevelop the area around the old arena. He didn’t specifically comment on the Islanders.

“I am disappointed to learn of the Islanders‘ plan to relocate to Brooklyn,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. “They’ve been a valued part of this region’s identity, and we wish the team great success in the future. We hope Long Islanders will continue to cheer for the team.”

Long Island fans seemed resigned to the move.

“I wish they would stay on Long Island. I was an Islanders fan for many years and went to all the Stanley Cup wins,” said Sandy Thomas, a former season-ticket holder. He added: “But the county and the town did not want to spend any money to support them. It’s too much of a commute to go to Brooklyn to a game. I will watch it on television.”

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Associated Press Writers Jennifer Peltz and Frank Eltman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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