Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Daily News: Nicholas Hirshon reports the The Queens Chamber of Commerce is making a long-shot bid to lure the Islanders from Nassau County as part of redevelopment plans for Willets Point, a maze of auto body shops near Citi Field with the Islanders declining comment.
A spokesman for the Town of Hempstead board, which must approve Wang's plans, said its members are "anxious to do everything we can to keep" the Islanders in Uniondale.
Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jack Friedman is quoted as saying the following:
"Queens makes sense [for the Islanders] from so many levels because of the airports and its central location," Friedman said, also noting the area's proximity to highways and subways.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said she would be "very receptive" while the city announced it's "open" to letting the team play in a Queens park.
City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) is quoted with the following:
"A hockey team like the Islanders enjoys a strong fan base," Liu said of the local following the team has built over four decades. "Their enterprise is not like a warehouse you could plunk in the middle of anywhere."
Even Mets third baseman David Wright was willing to share the borough's sports scene.
"I'd recommend it," Wright said of an Isles move. "I would endorse playing in Queens."
NYI Fan Central Comments:
My speculation is Charles Wang is using his Queens college connections here to apply a little more pressure on Lighthouse approval. This comes on the heels of SBJ report recently that National Tennis Center could put a hundred million dollar dome and bring in Islanders and Nets which is far more likely than Iron Triangle.
Love the outreach for the New York Islanders in Queens but this does not get Lighthouse approved. It should be noted this could also be a shot across the Mets owners bow for bidding on the HUB a few years ago or setting up a potential sale of the club to the Mets which would also seem unlikely.
A rumor like this also brings into the mix does Mr Wang want to own the team regardless? The Islanders paid their territorial fee back when they they joined the NHL, they can build an arena at 33rd street and sixth avenue in Manhattan if they so choose.
In short all of New York is Islanders territory right now.