BROOKLYN -- It won't technically be their home until the 2015-16 season, but after enjoying the first skate of their 2013-14 training camp at Barclays Center, the New York Islanders' players were impressed by what they saw from the new state-of-the-art facility, which will host the first-ever NHL game in Brooklyn when the Islanders play the New Jersey Devils in a preseason contest Sept. 21.
"It definitely feels really new. It will be an adjustment to make it feel comfortable and make it feel right at home. But it's a beautiful place," said captain John Tavares, who wasn't sure what the energy would be like for the upcoming preseason game. "I think it will feel like a neutral-site game, because the Coliseum is our home for a couple more years and we don't have a locker room here yet. But it will be nice to play the game for sure and get a feeling of what it will be like."
The team took a train together to the arena along the Long Island Railroad and seemed impressed by the amenities the new building offered. Holding 15,813 fans at full capacity, the building also features a new 32-foot-by-15-foot scoreboard that is among the biggest in North American arenas. And there will be even more awaiting the Islanders when they move into Barclays in 2015, as the arena is adding a new 11,000-square-foot campus offering full amenities for players and staff.
"It's great. We didn't really know what to expect. I hadn't seen the rink yet. I was looking forward to getting down here and seeing it. You can tell it's going to be a great atmosphere," forward Josh Bailey said. "The seats are right on top of you. It makes for a heck of an atmosphere. The fans are going to love it and the players are going to love playing here."