Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yormark says hockey "arrived in Brooklyn" in last year's playoffs

Remember how the puck was supposed to drop last October? Wasn't that the beginning of the New York Islanders' season in Brooklyn?

Now, unsurprisingly, Barclays CEO and Chief Spinmeister Brett Yormark is moving the goalposts.

As Newsday reported, Yormark won't talk about the possibility of the team leaving Brooklyn after the third season, when both the arena and team have an opt-out clause.

Rather, he's focusing on improving the in-game experience, including hiring a full-time ice engineer, and fan accommodation, as the Long Island Rail Road has added trains.

The article closed:
Yormark also said Barclays has seen an uptick in season-ticket sales, primarily from within the five boroughs. He cited John Tavares’ double-overtime goal to defeat the Panthers in the opening round of last year’s playoffs as “one of the signature moments in Barclays Center history.”
“The playoffs represented a moment where we all said hockey has arrived in Brooklyn,” Yormark said. “I think we took that momentum into the offseason.”
Well, the word "uptick" is pretty vague. Maybe they're selling more season tickets, but it doesn't have to be much.

As to when hockey "arrived" in Brooklyn, I get that Yormark wants to stress that attendance improved steadily over the year. But he's still moving the goalposts.

The Times's coverage confirms that the morning skate indicates the Islanders' uncertain embrace of Brooklyn:
The Islanders also have a new practice complex at Eisenhower Park, near the Coliseum, which is being renovated, and most players’ homes are on Long Island. The team stopped having morning skates on game days in Brooklyn midway through last season, and it has become clear Brooklyn will be a place it will venture to only for games.
Yormark reiterated his stance that efforts to increase the fan base would continue to be pronounced on several fronts.
“We have to stay true to the hard-core fan that resides on Long Island,” he said. “And we want to connect with fans throughout the tristate area. It’s all about marketing, community outreach and making the players more visible.”
By contrast, NetsDaily's Anthony Puccio suggests that--finally, in their fifth year--the Brooklyn Nets are becoming a Brooklyn team, with more players living here, thanks to the Brooklyn location of the practice center. Whether they all have Brooklyn "grit" and "pride" perhaps will be more apparent when the season starts.

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