21 April 2012
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman questioned the viability of an Islanders move to Brooklyn, during his 90-minute state-of-the-league address to the Associated Press Sports Editors at the NHL offices in New York City.
"Barclays, I suppose, on some level, is an option," Bettman was quoted as saying by Newsday. "But I'm not sure how effective it can serve the fan base that principally is in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens. It's not that easy to get to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. So it's not anything that's been focused on, other than the Islanders are going to play a preseason game there."
While the Nassau Coliseum is centrally located just off the Meadowbrook parkway, which connects with LIE, Northern State Parkway and Southern State Parkway, the Barclays Center may be even more convenient since it is located right in the middle of a transportation hub. That has been one major thing Nassau Coliseum has lacked since its’ opening. The building has very little options as far as public transportation is concerned.
Bettman’s comments are especially puzzling since the Barclays Center has plenty of ways for fans to get out to Brooklyn to catch a game.
For fans coming from Nassau or Suffolk County, a hop on the Long Island Rail Road with a transfer at Jamaica would get them to a game. Similar to how fans from Long Island would get to a New York Mets or Yankees game. And for fans in Queens, there are 11 bus lines that make stops at the new Brooklyn arena and 12 subway lines that stop there.
So to summarize, Mets fans can utilize public transportation 81 times a year, but Islander fans cannot. Makes sense right? Not to mention Ranger fans who do it to get to Madison Square Garden. Or Knick fans.
Bettman did go on to say that the league is continuing to help the Islanders explore their options “in the metropolitan area” and that the team has not currently discussed moving outside of the New York Area.
"[Charles Wang] wants to do the right thing for the fans on Long Island,” Bettman said. “Let's be clear: He bought the Islanders to have them on Long Island. But he's not getting a lot of help or cooperation."
The NHL Commissioner took several digs at Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead saying that they seem unwilling or unable to deal with the Coliseum situation. Adding that they don’t seem invested in having a new arena.
Both Bettman and Wang have both repeatedly said that the Islanders will not play in Nassau Coliseum past 2015.
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