Is Charles Wang Looking To Sell The Islanders?

The NY Post published a story late last night on their web-site by Josh Kosman claiming that New York Islanders owner Charles Wang is looking to sell the team (Photo Credit: stayclassynet/Flickr).

According to the article, Wang has had preliminary discussions with a Manhattan investment bank called The Raine Group.

There have been rumors and discussions in the past on various hockey web-sites stating that Wang has been open to selling the team for somewhere around $300 million. However, the Islanders losing record over the years compacted with their massive financial losses may make that a tough price to sell.

The NY Post article also states that an Islanders spokesman denied the alleged rumor. But that doesn't mean that Wang isn't considering his options.

He vowed to do his best to keep the team in Nassau County once he began investigating ways to provide his team a new arena. Whether you like the man or not as an Isles fan, no one can argue that he didn't give it his best effort. He tried to build the Lighthouse Project out of his own pocket and was denied by Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead. The proposal collected dust on her desk for close to a decade, was scaled down tremendously in efforts to accommodate the TOH's zoning laws and was still rejected after it was all said and done.

He then went through the County, with the support of County Executive Ed Mangano, and put a new publicly funded arena to a referendum vote that failed. Whether he wanted to build a new arena with his own money, or the taxpayers, he did not get his wish.

Many other frustrated owners would likely have tried to sell the team right then and there, but Wang did not. Instead, he decided to move the Islanders to the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The move will provide Isles fans easy access via railroad and retains the rich history that comes with this team by keeping the colors, logo and name.

He has undoubtedly made some questionable moves as owner in regards to team management over the years. But in his eyes, and likely many others, Wang did everything he could to give the people of Long Island the best opportunity to keep the fan base alive and well despite the political road blocks he faced. Therefore, this might be his best opportunity to sell a team that has been a financial and political burden since the very beginning.

New ownership would be provided a young team that should hopefully have sold out crowds at what will be the newest hockey facility in the NHL.

In addition, a new owner would open the doors to a lot of potential changes to the team. This can be bad or good, as many Islanders fans know very well from the past. A new owner might be more willing to spend money on top free agents to help fill the stands at the Barclays Center; a new owner would not have ties to certain players, such as Rick DiPietro, and may look to take the team in a new direction.

But then again, a new owner could eventually go the route that caused the team to lose Zigmund Palffy so many years ago.

It is a very interesting rumor at the very least, and one that will likely continue to grow and draw more attention as the season expires.

-Rob McGowan

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