Barclays Center was not built for hockey. It would be hard to argue against that by any means.
However, to say that it is terrible for hockey would not be accurate either. The thing with Barclays Center is that it has its' flaws, but it also has a lot of positives. The most obvious being that the building isn't 43 years old. Nothing against Nassau Coliseum -- it's a building that is great for hockey, but lacks modern amenities and is literally falling apart.
As a hockey barn, Barclays Center is screwy
The building was built for basketball and concerts, so trying to fit a hockey rink into it has been a process.
The scoreboard does not hang over center ice, there are obstructed view seats and in some sections the angle of the seats forces fans to have to physically turn their bodies to watch the action. "You're facing this way and having to turn you head the other way to see the game," one fan said while demonstrating how he has been viewing the game from his seat. To say the least, in those areas it's not ideal.
But for two-thirds of fans, the view will be great. Islanders Point Blank explored the arena on Friday night and found the view was equal to that of Nassau Coliseum from most sections outside of the obstructed view sections. There was a clear view of the ice, albeit a steep incline in the 200s.
"It's a good view," said Kyle Scheiner, who was sitting in section 226 Friday night. "A lot higher up than you are in the Coliseum... I can see everything from where I was."
Scheiner, who took the LIRR in from Jericho, said the people in his section were generally pleased with their seats. However other people did not entirely love the view where they were sitting.
Carter Anne McGowen was sitting in Section 24 and had a minor issue with her seat. Where she was seated was near a handicap section and the hand rails there blocked her view.
"This seems entirely fixable, though, if they move the railing back a bit," She explained in an email. "What's not-so-fixable for section 24 (and I assume most of the lower bowl) is that if you're short (like me), you'll have to do a lot of looking around the head of the person in front of you like you would in an old movie theatre. This happens at the Coliseum too, but the person in front of you has to be really tall for this to be an issue."
The obstructed view seats are obstructed
There are about 400 seats, according to the New York Times, in the Barclays Center that are obstructed view and you can not see a third, or more, of the ice. Once again, that is because of the building being designed for basketball.
"On the side where you walk into the arena you can't see one of the goals,' Scheiner said. He, like so many other fans, explored the arena, which included a trip to the obstructed view sections. These "limited view" seats stretch from section 227 to section 205 in the upper bowl and from section 28 to four in the lower bowl.
"Just know that nobody's kidding when they say you will NOT see anything that takes place in the near end past the face-off circle unless you sit in the first two rows," said McGowen, who also took a trip to the obstructed seats. "I know the 'Yotes previous building had similar issues but it somehow seems wrong to have seats like this in a building housing an NHL team charging NHL prices. If they do sell these seats to regular season games...and people are willing to pay for obstructed view at whatever price they do end up charging, I suppose no harm, no foul, but those thinking of buying these seats really need to be aware that this is an OOUS - an Obstruction Of Unusual Size."
Now the Barclays Center does not hide that fact that these seats are limited view, so in this case you get what you pay for.
If these seats are going to be sold -- which it sounds like they will -- then they need to be kept cheap. It was reported in the Times that one person paid $15 to sit in Section 205.
"I purposely wanted to have a obstructed view seat because of the price,” Steven Chatterton told the New York Times. "I don’t mind having to stand up to see the whole rink. I just hope this price holds next season when they move for good."
If the Islanders and Barclays Center people are smart they will keep the prices low and push their Barclays Center App to fill in the gap of not being able to see certain areas of the ice. Namely, they should push them to the younger generation of fans and play up the ability to use the app. During Friday's game fans using the app were able to watch the game through the Cisco StadiumVision Mobile video feed.
I'm told all my generation does is have their heads in their phones, so why not play that up for those obstructed view sections.
They added more seats
One noticeable change on Friday was the addition of seats behind the net the Islanders shoot on once. During last season's preseason game in Brooklyn there had been high-top tables placed there, but this year they had been replaced by seats that can be rolled out for hockey games.
It looks a lot better than the high-top tables did last year.
There are some pretty cool spots for MSG and Isles radio to do pre and post game
The one thing with the Barclays Center is that there are some very good broadcast spots to do TV pre and post game. On Friday, MSG had Shannon Hogan set up right near the front entrance, so that her background was the ice surface. It is a much nicer spot visually and location wise than where they are set up at Nassau Coliseum.
In addition, with the amount of clubs on the main concourse that would be a great spot for Islanders radio -- whom ever is carry the Islanders when they move to Brooklyn -- to bring back the post game show they used to do live in Doolin's pub back in the day. A lot of fans enjoyed that and were saddened when that was discontinued after the 2008-2009 season.
The Barclays Center is not ideal for hockey. It has its' quirks, but ultimately it is not as bad as some fans would like to make it out to be either. there will be an adjustment period as the team and the fans adjust to the new building.
Brooklyn's Barclay's Center is not perfect, but it can work for hockey.