The New York Islanders can’t build a new rink fast enough.
A paltry 8,790 fans took in a shutout victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday, a new low for the team since it moved to Brooklyn in 2015-16.
The franchise is no stranger to sparse crowds, ranking last in average attendance (12,002), and second-last in average attendance percentage last season (75.9), but Monday’s tilt – which, it should be noted had a 1 p.m. local start time – represented a new low.
Barclays Center failed to bring in less than 10,000 fans just once last year, an Oct. 24 game against the Arizona Coyotes.
The splashy Brooklyn facility opened in 2012 as the new home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, with the Islanders moving in a few years later after it was deemed Nassau Coliseum – the team’s home since 1972 – was no longer suitable.
But the new location has been plagued with poor sightlines, out-of-touch policies with regards to fan experience, and even reports of poor ice in the short time it has hosted hockey. The team will play 20 games at Nassau this season, in what should be its last at Barclays.
Ownership has put in place a plan to find the Islanders a permanent home, winning a bid to build an 18,000-seat arena as part of a $1-billion development plan in Belmont Park, east of New York City.
The Belmont facility won’t be ready for another three seasons however, leaving the Islanders without a modern residence until then.