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Report: Islanders Discussing Building Arena In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Islanders are reportedly in talks with the owners of the Mets about building an arena in Willets Point, Queens.

According to Bloomberg, the plan is being explored in the event that the owners of the NHL team and the owners of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn can't agree on hockey-specific upgrades to that facility. The news organization cited sources with knowledge of the discussions.

The Islanders moved into Barclays last season, but they struggled to attract new fans in Brooklyn while their existing supporters complained about obstructed-view seats and the loss of some traditions from the team's decades on Long Island. Some players also have complained about the quality of the ice.

With a seating capacity of 15,700 for hockey, the Barclays Center, which the Islanders share with the NBA's Nets, is considered small by NHL standards. The Isles' average home attendance last season was 13,626, third worst in the NHL and down nearly 1,500 fans per game from their final season at Nassau Coliseum.

Former majority owner Charles Wang moved the team after voters in 2011 rejected a referendum that would have used taxpayer money to build a new arena on Long Island.

Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky purchased the franchise for $485 million in 2014 and took control July 1.

An arena in Queens would put the Islanders closer to their longtime fans on Long Island. The facility would be near Citi Field and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open tennis tournament.

The Islanders told Bloomberg they would not comment on speculation. A Barclays Center spokesman declined to comment. And the general counsel for Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, did not immediately return a phone call.

The New York Post reported in February that the Islanders and Barclays were already rethinking their relationship. The Islanders' lease is for 25 years, but it contains a four-year escape clause, according to the Post.

Nassau Coliseum is undergoing a $260 million renovation, but it's seating capacity is being cut to 13,000, making it too small for the NHL.

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