LIPA chief Kevin Law, who isn't supposed to take over the helm of the Long Island Association until Sept. 1, is already dealing with a major issue - keeping the Islanders on Long Island.

Law, whose appointment as LIA president was formally announced Wednesday by the board of the Island's largest business and civic organization, said the region cannot afford to lose the hockey team to Queens or any other place.

Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the New York Mets, told Newsday on Tuesday that he has talked to Islanders owner Charles Wang about building a hockey arena in Queens as a home for the team.

"First and foremost, we cannot let the Islanders leave Long Island," Law said at the news conference at LIA headquarters in Melville. "If we can't resolve the issues at the [Nassau] Coliseum, we need at least to keep them in Suffolk."

Plans by Wang to redevelop the Coliseum have stalled. "To the extent that I can play a role in trying to help the team stay on the Island, that is a role I should play," Law said.

The LIA introduced Law to the media following a six-month search for a successor to Matt Crosson, who left the post in mid-March after serving for 16 years. Crosson is now president of the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Law was one of a handful of candidates considered from a field of about 60 applicants.

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Law, who has been chief executive of the Long Island Power Authority since October 2007, replacing Richard Kessel, said Wednesday that he accepted the LIA post because he was looking for "broader challenges."

"The LIA will allow me to get involved with issues other than energy, but [those issues] will include energy," Law said. He mentioned the environment, economic development and the "fragmented" nature of Long Island's governmental units.

Law acknowledged in an interview later that the LIA's voice has not been "as strong as it used to be," although he added he is not certain of the reasons. He said the Island is "not getting its fair share" of funds or help from Albany and Washington, D.C.

Long Island business executives generally gave their support to Law, who they said is considered highly capable and a consensus-builder.

Desmond Ryan, executive director of the developers' group Association for a Better Long Island, said Law "understands government. He has been the face of the region's utility for some time now. He knows the pressure the business community is experiencing."

Sheldon Sackstein, chairman of the business group Action Long Island, questioned the timing of Law's appointment, saying a number of key decisions have yet to be made at LIPA, including the utility's future role in providing the Island with energy.

Law said he will remain at LIPA until Sept. 1 so a successor can be found. The LIA's executive staff will run the organization until Law takes over.