Report: Wang to sell majority stake of New York Islanders

  • Joe Ray
charles wang

The Islanders have struggled to build a contender with Charles Wang as owner. (AP Photo)

For the New York Islanders, the past season has been an absolute nightmare. Expecting the team to take strides forward after a playoff berth in 2012-13, the team spiraled amidst injuries and poor play, and now the fans are calling for front office changes.

According to a report from TSN super-insider Bob McKenzie, Islanders fans may get their wish. McKenzie tweeted that Islanders majority owner Charles Wang may be putting his stake of the team up for sale. There was no follow-up to this tweet, but the possibility certainly has to excite an Isles fan base that has grown incensed with the current front office.

 

Wang became a minority owner of the Islanders in 2000, but later purchased the share of his business partner Sanjay Kumar and subsequently became majority owner in 2004.

Wang has received great criticism for his ownership style and involvement in player personnel decisions. He fired general manager Neil Smith in 2006 just 40 days after Smith’s hiring, and replaced him with current general manager Garth Snow. Smith was incensed at how Wang wanted to run the Islanders.

“His vision of how he wanted the organization to work internally — and mine — were total opposites, and it couldn’t work,” said Smith, who built the Rangers team that won the 1994 Stanley Cup and is now a television analyst. “He owned the team, and he won.”

Wang has failed to put effective management in place, and the Islanders have been in a perpetual state of rebuilding for quite some time. The Islanders have only made the playoffs twice since Wang became majority owner in 2004, and the team has failed to break a streak in which they have not won a playoff series since 1993. In that 10-year span, the team has had six head coaches and three general managers.

With forwards John Tavares and Kyle Okposo as cornerstones, the Islanders are a team that could be turned into a contender in three years or so. That prediction presumes that there is a sound management structure, and that would likely only come to the Islanders if Wang were removed from the picture.

Islanders fans want change, and their hopes may come true sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal has confirmed through an NHL source that Wang is pursuing a sale of the Islanders, but the embattled owner is not happy at all that the news was leaked.

 

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