The New York Islanders made their way to Brooklyn by train Thursday for a practice session, something team executives hopes Islanders fans will do when the team moves there in two years. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
It's something you don't see every day in Brooklyn: a professional hockey team walking along Flatbush Avenue, fresh from their ride on the Long Island Rail Road from Nassau County.
"I've been on the train a couple of times in the last week, so I kind of knew what it was like, but it was cool to just get dropped off right here and walk out and be at the rink," said Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck. "And it's my first time in Brooklyn, so that's exciting, too."
The Islanders hit the ice Thursday in advance of their upcoming preseason matchup with the Devils on September 21, a taste of things to come as the team will make the place their new home in 2015.
While they skated, NY1 got a closer look at the hockey layout at the arena that is also home to the Brooklyn Nets.
"The major thing is, great sight lines," said Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner. "And we've really worked at that, so it's probably going to be the most intimate view for any hockey fan, probably in the whole NHL."
The executives say a new team campus - too fancy to be called a locker room - is in the works for the Islanders. NY1 also got a look at some of the more upscale spaces available at Barclays, something the Nassau Coliseum just can't offer at this point, though ironically, Ratner's company won the bid to renovate that out-of-date facility.
"It's a great, great vibe that we create in here, said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. "There's a champagne bar right in the middle if you want to just walk a little further in. But it's a great premium environment for our best customers."
As far as the hockey layout here, there is some limited view seating in certain sections of the west end of the arena. But folks here at the Barclays Center don't think that will stop fans from having a great experience.
"We've got a lot of digital signage here," Yormark said. "Our end boards will all be programmed to show the game, so wherever you are in this building, you're going to be able to have a great view of the game."
Meaning if you can't see the ice, you can always watch on video screens.
The big question remains whether the Islanders fan base in Nassau and Suffolk Counties follow the team here, at the far west end of Long Island. So far, 10,000 of nearly 16,000 available seats have been sold for next Saturday's exhibition.