NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Islanders rode the train from Long Island to Brooklyn — a trek they hope many of their fans will take once the club moves there in two years.
Training camp opened for the Islanders on Thursday at Barclays Center, which will become the team's new home for the 2015-16 NHL season. The Nassau Coliseum will be a distant memory for the Islanders as they leave the aging building for the first time since they entered the league in 1972.
"One word for it: beautiful," team owner Charles Wang said. "When you look at what is going on here, it's unbelievable. I am very happy as you can see from the smile."
He stopped short of comparing this day to other big ones in his life.
"I'm ecstatic today. Is it happier than the day I got married?" Wang asked, before an answer was drowned out by laughter. "You enjoy that moment. I have a big smile on my face."
One by one, the players left the Long Island Railroad train that carried them from Garden City, N.Y., to Brooklyn on Thursday morning. They were decked out in their jerseys and received a warm welcome as they approached the sparkling new arena.
Reporters, television crews and photographers were there to greet them on a near 90-degree day that was more suitable for baseball than hockey.
"It was good to get camp open," newly named captain John Tavares said. "It's been a little different with the train ride and getting here and getting on the ice real quick."
The ice wasn't quite up to pro standards yet, but Tavares said that will improve in time.
"It would be really tough to play a game on something like that," he said. "I would say it still needs a few more layers and it needs time to really get set."
Wang beamed as he spoke of his excitement regarding the club's move to Brooklyn. He tried long and hard to get a new arena built on Long Island as part of his expansive Lighthouse Project, but that never came to fruition.
While the scheduled arrival date is 2015, it isn't completely out of the question that the Islanders could move up their transfer if adjustments can be made to their lease and if necessary work at the arena can be completed earlier.
Cut pounds of stomach fat every week by using this 1 weird old tip.