The process of moving the New York Islanders to Brooklyn has officially begun. Thanks to the vocal chorus of fans and the avid support they've shown since it franchise's second home was announced, many traditions will continue on with them.
The [bank or soccer league of some sort] Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders will play and where their business operations are already managed, began a new PR campaign this week to reiterate -- once again -- that they may be moving the team (by Nassau necessity, we might add) but they are not moving your cheese.
'We Heard You'
The overarching message, from the overlords of the arena in Brooklyn:
"It is of the utmost importance to us to carry on the many deep-rooted traditions of the New York Islanders as they move to Brooklyn," said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. "Throughout its history, the team’s customs and unique elements have been instrumental in shaping the identity of the franchise. We’ve spent a lot of time talking with Islanders fans who made it clear they wanted their favorite traditions brought to Brooklyn, and we have listened."
I don't know that harassing Yormark on Twitter had its intended effect, but in aggregate yes, the man has heard your call.
The meaty takeaways:
- These colors don't run: For the last time, yes the Islanders will keep their logo and primary home/road uniforms, he told Newsday.
- The Army migrates: "The Blue and Orange Army, the Islanders super-fan group and some of its most boisterous supporters, will lead the crowd in Yes! Yes! Yes! chants from section 229."
- The Dynasty ambassadors remain: Clark Gillies and Bobby Nystrom have been among those holding out hope for one day returning to Nassau. But that doesn't mean they're abandoning the team's move to Brooklyn. They along with Butch Goring and Mike Bossy are the four inaugural members of what [bank of some sort] Center is calling the Legends Program.
- The PA Man remains: Roger Luce, public address announcer at Islanders games since 1998-99, will be at the helm in Brooklyn.
And of course the banners, the colors, the John Tavares -- all that stuff is obviously carrying over to the new home. (Yormark did note in the Newsday interview that the radio partner, Hofstra University -- across the street from the Coliseum -- is almost assuredly not following suit.)
As part of this PR blitz, they also released some demographics on the ticket-buying public thus far. They like what they're seeing, per Newsday:
So far only full season tickets have gone on sale to the public. But based on early results, Yormark said 25 percent of sales have come from Nassau and Suffolk, second only to the 33 percent from Brooklyn.
The vast majority of that 25 percent are current season ticket holders who have renewed rather than new subscribers.
Neil Best, author of that Newsday piece, added via Twitter that 21 percent are from Manhattan.
That's right: Remember that while this move takes them further from some fans on Long Island, it actually brings the team closer to others who love the team but found getting to Uniondale about as tricky as getting an arena built there.
The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn. Existing fans are ready to meet them there.