According to New York Islanders beat writer Chris Botta, the league has reached its limit with tolerating the problems with the ice at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The NHL is sending experts to the building to inspect the ice conditions and facility. There have been complaints about the ice conditions for over a year now, since the team first began play, from both Isles’ players and visitors and something must be done.
In a series of tweets two weeks ago, Botta detailed the main issue with the Barclays ice. Essentially, the piping system in the arena does not meet NHL standards, yet arena leadership has not done anything about it. Around the same time as Botta’s analysis, a New York Post article detailed some honest comments from Cal Clutterbuck, who did not hesitate to call it “the worst ice I’ve ever seen”. When the Islanders were winning last season in spite of the poor conditions, the team was not as heavy-handed with their commentary. However, with New York off to a rocky 4-6 start, the last thing the Islanders need is an added disadvantage as they try to right the ship.
It’s no secret that the Barclays Center was not designed for hockey. The Brooklyn Nets were meant to be the sole inhabitants, but an interest in a move from the Nassau Coliseum by the Islanders late in the game led to New York heading to Brooklyn last season. However, the Islanders have an out clause in their contract allowing them to leave after next season. With many design flaws in the stadium already apparent and attendance down for the second straight year, if the ice issues persist, it will be foregone conclusion by the end of the 2017-18 season that the Islanders will be on the move. Whether they return to a renovated Nassau Coliseum, begin building a new arena, or decide to depart New York altogether, the ice is just another factor leading towards an almost-inevitable Barclays departure.