Leon Hess, calling M. Donald Grant a double-dealer, vowed yesterday to deal a pair of New York Jets NFL games - the first two of the 1977 regular season - into the Hackensack Meadowlands Stadium in New jersey.
Hess, president of the Jets, accused Grant, chairman of the Mets of adding new demands in the written version of the Feb. 18 verbal agreement that Mayor Abe Beame mediated between the two clubs that share Shea Stadium. The Mets until then had staunchly resisted any football-playing on their turf until their baseball season has ended.
All right, declared Hess, it's off to Jersey until after the World Series, after which back to Shea for the rest of the season: "New York City . . . dealth openly and honestly. On that basis and because we are a New York team, we will not completely remove ourselves at this time . . . will not do anything to futher demoalize a city in cisis, a city that is tying to edeem itself, a city in which many good people are working day and night to save fo a futue billiance."
New York already saw the FL Giants move out of Yankee Stadium and into East Rutherford last year, and once the Jets sample selling 76,000 seats in Jersey, compared to 60,000 Shea capacity, while operating approximately the same seven-mile distance from center city, well, the Meadowlands may find itself with 14 "New York" home games a year . . .
Shea Stadium isn't all that old and traditional, anyway - but also astir in that bailiwick is a switch of tennis' U.S. Open from its home of 61 years, Forest Hills. The U.S. Tennis Association is considering a switch, as of 1978, to Flushing Meadow Park, a few miles away from the est Side Tennis Club, whose contract with USTA expires after this summer's tournament.
A spokesman for Beame acknowledged USTA inquires about the possibility. Martin Lang, New York City's commissioner of parks and recreation, said the tennis tournament could be held in Louis Armstrong Stadium, on the grounds of the 1964 World's Fair - "a facility that I believe with some honest investment would have some potential." USTA is prepared to invest some $6 million to turn the site into a permanent tennis facility. Decision expected within a month . . .
Hold the phone, Team Canada general manager Derek Holmes siad in effect yesterday in Toronto after catching Capital coach Tom McVie's uncertain reaction to the prospect of being named "the" coach of Canada's squad in next months's World Hockey Championships. Holmes said McVie wasn't offered the job as head coach of the squad of pro stars - from non-playoff teams - that will be sent to Austria. "We asked him if he would be interested in a coaching job and he said he would be thrilled and honored at the opportunity," Holmes said, explaining that Team Canada would probably have three or four coaches "if we can get the right people."
Even as the hockey world was abuzz over the news about Ned Harkness, former coach-general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, the cellar-sitting NHL club yesterday fired Alex Delvecchio and hired Ted Lindsay, 51, as general manager.
After 1970-74 with the Wings, Harkness went back to college, where (RPI and Cornell) he established his reputation as a win-win-win man via hard work, inspirational messages and gung-ho recruiting, and built another power at Union College in Schnectady, N.Y. Only thing, despite his push to go Division I, Union isn't big-time in sports, belongs to the New England Small College Athletic Conference. And when Harkness was caught violating a recruiting no-no by visiting a boy at his home, then failed to tell college officials the truth about it, he found himself suspended. A board of trustees will decide his fate in several weeks, and perhaps with it the future direction of Union College hockey.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, know where they want to go - back to the glory days of Lindsay, Delvecchio and Gordie Howe's playing era. So exit Delvecchio, enter Lindsay, at the helm with a five-year contract (for what that's worth these days).
When spring football drills start Monday at Navy, coach George Welsh will convert John Kurowski, alternate quarterback, into wnigback. That gives rise to the prospect of this starting backfield come fall to rival those of the old-time Notre Dame Irish:
Leszezynski, Klawinski, Kurowski and Gattuso.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.