So here’s my rant: I’m a Long Island homeowner that’s patiently waited for the past 12yrs (Suozzi, Mangano administrations / Rex Corp) for something / anything to be constructively accomplished at Nassau Coliseum. Guess what: we’ve had referendums / Case Studies / Lighthouse Projects/ Cool Zones / Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and the only CONSTANT was my NY ISLANDERS. Next season, will mark their final year at Nassau Coliseum as a full time tenant. Yes, the stadium hasn’t been upgraded in 40+ years – but it’s the venue of choice for those that opt not to travel to Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey. While it’s cool to bash Islanders owner Charles Wang — truthfully, if it wasn’t for him – the Islanders would’ve been in Kansas City or Quebec by now.
Under Wang’s ownership – the Islanders have won a single playoff series. Here are their TOP 3 notable blunders:
- His refusal to spend above the mandated NHL salary floor on salaries,
- Staying with Mike Milbury & Garth Snow when it was clear that neither was an effective NHL EVP / General Manager.
- The Rick DiPietro 15 year contract.
Wang signed a 25-year lease on Oct. 24, 2012, to move the Islanders to Brooklyn after years of trying to get a new or refurbished arena built at the current Nassau Coliseum site. The Islanders will begin playing in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season. What happens to their fan base? Since the arena is primarily configured for basketball – the re-arranged seating for hockey, is only able to seat 14,500 in its current configuration. This would make it the lowest seating capacity in the National Hockey League. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but Long Islanders will need to remember that Charles Wang never wanted to leave Long Island.
There’s a lot of chatter about the Islanders taking back business operations from the Nets. (for the Barclays merger) Guess what? Wang is smart and now listening to offers — he’ll be hard pressed to get an offer in excess of $200MIL for the team. If and when Wang does sell the team – that won’t end his involvement with the NHL. Why you ask? The residual incomes continues to flow because Wang’s NeuLion company provides the online support for NHL.com, including the streaming video of games — a partnership that is extremely important to the league.
The rich get richer – Long Islanders lose their only professional sports organization & doesn’t get a #$%&*$# thing. John Tavares will be playing at the Barclays Center – while a streamlined Nassau Coliseum goes dark for a year while receiving a facelift. Minor League Hockey (AHL) – please come to LI.