Not everyone is thrilled to have the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. Former Assemblyman Jerry Kremer, who represented Long Island during his 23-year tenure, took Islanders owner Charles Wang to task for leaving Nassau County behind. Kremer said that Wang wanted either a publicly financed arena or the rights to develop the area around the arena without any limits or restrictions, both near impossibilities for the cash-strapped county.
“When [Wang] couldn’t get what he wanted, his bargaining chip was the team,” Kremer said. “But while Long Island wants a hockey team, you can’t make a county that’s in financial trouble pony up and have a new arena. And you can’t, because of competitive bidding laws, give away the development of the land there to any one bidder without serious competition. His asks were so big that it was a prophecy that came true that the Islanders would leave the area.”
At the press conference announcing the Islanders arena deal with the Barclays Center, Wang said that the timeline for building an arena had expired and that he long maintained that ownership would “entertain every option, every offer” but that the opportunity to keep the arena relatively local was the right deal for all parties involved.