Islander fans: We'll support team if they move

An industrial area in Willets Point next to An industrial area in Willets Point next to the New York Mets Citi Field could become a potential home of the New York Islanders. The area is now occupied by various automotive related business'. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Islanders fans want their team to stay in New York, so if a new home arena is built near Citi Field, some fans interviewed Wednesday said they'd still stand by their team.

Some fans said they would prefer the Lighthouse Project gain traction and the team stay in Nassau County. But if that doesn't happen, they wouldn't turn their backs on the Islanders.

"I can't blame [Islanders owner Charles] Wang," said Jim Lawshe, 45, of Huntington, an Islanders fan since the 1970s. "It would be best if the county would work with him. The would create jobs and be good for everybody. That would be the best option."

Lawshe, a former season ticket holder who works in construction and attends a couple Islanders games a year, said he would still be a fan if the team moved.

"I could understand it," Lawshe said. "I don't like the Devils, and I don't like the Rangers. And if a new arena helps attract players, I'm all for it. I just want them to win."

Mike Berkowitz, 25, of Smithtown, has been an Islanders fan since childhood, but hasn't attended a game in five years. He called Nassau Coliseum "a dump," and wants a new arena, preferably on Long Island, but "if it means moving to the city, so be it. Why not?"

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Berkowitz, who runs a pool business, was also frustrated with what he said were poor management decisions by Wang, such as signing Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract and appointing former backup goaltender Garth Snow as general manager. For those reasons, Berkowitz supports Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon possibly taking over ownership.

Another young fan, James Brucato, 20, of Bellmore, is studying sports management at St. John's. He's a Mets and Islanders fan who has attended a few hockey games this season.

"Overall, it's a good idea," he said. "I feel right now the Islanders are kind of at rock bottom with not many people going to games. Something has to change quickly. If they get the Lighthouse going, that would be great. But as a fan, it'd be cool to see the Mets and Islanders next to each other."

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