Willets Point Islanders?
by Daniel Bush
Mar 11, 2009 | 5340 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If it were up to Jack Friedman, the Islanders would be sliding pucks around Willets Point once the neighborhood is rebuilt, which just happens to coincide with the time when the team's current lease at the Nassau Coliseum is set to expire.

Friedman, the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, has been the driving force behind the push to bring the four-time Stanley Cup Champion Islanders to Willets Point. Friedman has suggested the team could play in a removable, Madison Square Garden-style hockey rink to be built inside the planned Willets Point convention center.

"It's not such a far-fetched idea," Friedman said.

Friedman said having a hockey team use the convention center that is proposed for Willets Point would make it more economically viable than just hosting conventions, and that hockey fans could park at nearby Citi Field.

"There isn't much overlap between the baseball and hockey seasons," said Friedman, whose plans have drawn support recently from Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilman John Liu.

Friedman noted that the site was in the middle of a big transportation hub, and that the Islanders aren't looking to move until 2015, around the redevelopment of Willets Point is expected to be well underway.

A spokesman for the Islanders responded to calls for this story, but could not provide comment by press time.

Joseph Pally, a spokesman for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, did not comment on Friedman's plan specifically, but said in a statement that the city would review any appropriate suggestions for Willets Point.

"We are looking forward to evaluating any ideas that fall within the guidelines of the approved rezoning," said Pally.

The Islanders, owned by Queens College graduate Charles Wang, stirred rumors of a potential move in February when the team scheduled a pre-season game at a new arena in Kansas City, which has been trying to land a National Hockey League team.

The Isles' lease at the Nassau Coliseum, in Uniondale, Long Island, expires in 2015.

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