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Islanders moving to Brooklyn in 2015

| Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 1:52 p.m.
REUTERS
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (center) leaves Barclays Center on a New York subway Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, following an announcement that the NHL's Islanders will move to the new arena in Brooklyn in 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

NEW YORK — The New York Islanders finally have a new home, and it's in Brooklyn, the borough that is suddenly a hotbed of pro sports 54 years after baseball's Dodgers headed west.

“It's a new place, and it's only 35 minutes away by train,” team owner Charles Wang said at a news conference Wednesday. “Come and join us and see hockey.”

After seven months of negotiations and offers to move the team out of New York, Wang announced that the Islanders will relocate about 25 miles west once their lease expires at Nassau Coliseum after the 2014-15 season.

Since the day the Islanders entered the NHL in 1972, the Coliseum in Uniondale has been their home. It's where they grabbed the hockey spotlight, outshined the big, bad Rangers and won the Stanley Cup from 1980-83. But Wednesday, the future became all about Brooklyn.

The move is hardly shocking and not even unprecedented. The old New York Nets left Nassau Coliseum way back when, relocated to New Jersey, and have moved into their new Brooklyn home — the new Barclays Center that also will house the Islanders.

Unlike the Nets, who changed the team logo and added Brooklyn to their name, the Islanders are sticking to their heritage.

That is important to Mike Bossy, a Hockey Hall of Famer who serves as the Islanders' vice president of corporate partnerships.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Charles' main goal was to keep the team local, and he succeeded in doing that. As much as people may be upset because it's not going to be in Nassau County they should be happy because he kept the team in New York.”

The Barclays Center sits across the street from the site Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley hoped to put a baseball stadium to keep his club in New York. He was unable to pull it off, so the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles in 1958 and the borough was without a major pro sports franchise until the Nets' arrival this year.

Coincidentally, the Nets hosted the New York Knicks in an NBA preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night.

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