2010-05-19 / Sports

Mets’ And Islanders’ Owners Eye Flushing As Possible Home

By Jason D. Antos

The New York Mets Chief Executive Officer Jeff Wilpon and Islanders owner Charles Wang have discussed the possibility about building an arena for the hockey team near Citi Field in Flushing possibly in the footprints of Shea Stadium. According to Wilpon, he has not ruled out the possibility of buying the team.

Wang has lost money on the Islanders for years and has in the past discussed moving the Islanders from Nassau Veterans Coliseum to Uniondale. That project, however, has been delayed so far.
Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not spoken to the Mets’ owners about the proposed project, he said that he is in favor of such a move but is worried about Wang’s intentions.

“I don't know whether it’s just the owner of the team negotiating, using us [the city] as a negotiating ploy out on Long Island,” Bloomberg said. “ I’d love to have more teams move here.”

Wilpon has also been talking with Major League Soccer about the prospect of bringing a team to Queens, however, space near Citi Field is limited.

Borough President Helen Marshall is also in favor of the possible relocation of the Islanders but, like the mayor, is concerned about the role Queens plays in this project.

“I am not going to be used a pawn,” Marshall said. “If they want to move here that is terrific, however, if they are using Queens as a negotiating tool, then they should be honest.”

The news has plenty of local sports fans buzzing about the possibility of an Islanders stadium in their own backyard.

“That would be fantastic because it’s local,” one fan outside Citi Field said. “You won’t have to go get stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway going to Nassau Veterans Coliseum.”

The Islanders’ lease at Nassau Veterans Coliseum is set to expire in 2015.

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