BROOKLYN -- The New York Islanders enjoyed a unique start to their 2013 training camp, as they boarded a Long Island Rail Road train from Garden City. Their final destination Thursday morning was the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the building scheduled to become their home in 2015. It will host the team's preseason game on Sept. 21 against the New Jersey Devils, the first-ever NHL game played in Brooklyn.
The players and coaches received a particularly warm greeting upon their arrival.
"First and foremost, welcome to your new home. We're thrilled to have all of you with us today," Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told the team. "Congratulations to you on a great last season. I'm sure you're going to replicate that effort this season."
The preseason game has sold more than 10,000 tickets and is expected to kickstart a season in which the Islanders hope to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season's team qualified for the postseason for the first time in six years. Coming off an exciting first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the group present at Barclays Center on Thursday has heightened expectations for the Islanders once they come to Brooklyn.
"We will raise many Stanley Cups right here. You're a great team. Let's get it done," said developer Bruce Ratner, who spearheaded the Atlantic Yards project that houses Barclays Center and made a point to laud recently named team captain John Tavares.
"We've got a great captain. We've got a great team," he said. "I want to thank you for all your good work. I want you to lead us to victory this year."