There is a new arena being built in Brooklyn to host the Nets, who will move over from New Jersey. There has also been quite a bit of talk that the Islanders may move from Nassau County to Brooklyn to share the arena. This is hotly contested, and certainly nothing is set in stone.
There is, however, hockey coming to the Barclay’s Center next year. Mikhail Prokhorov is the comically wealthy Russian owner of the Nets, and has moved the team to Brooklyn, where, apparently, there is a large Russian population (I don’t know, I live in Minnesota… I am just taking USA Today‘s word at face value), and he is bringing the KHL, Russia’s top hockey league to New York for a couple games, just before the KHL all star game.
Usually when league’s go overseas to play, the move makes sense. To wit: MLB goes to Japan at the beginning of many seasons, because the American game is the most elite version of a game that is popular over there. When the NFL plays in London, they are introducing a new market to the most popular game (sorry, fellow hockey fans) in America. When European soccer clubs come to the United States for exhibition matches, it is again because they are teams at the top of their game, playing in front of a burgeoning fan base. Even when the NHL starts overseas, they are bringing the best teams in the world to markets where hockey is popular.
This is why the KHL coming to New York doesn’t make a lot of sense. The NHL is better than the KHL. Simple as that. Games are at the exact wrong time for Americans to watch (aside from the ones to be played in New York), so a market likely won’t be carved out for KHL viewers in the US. So what is the point of a lesser league coming to America when potential benefits are so slim?
Prokhorov. The KHL and their games at the Barclays are simply the plaything of a billionaire. Still, it’s hockey with guys out to perform, so it might be worth watching.