Fans mixed on Wang's sale of Islanders
Marc Anzalo doesn't know Islanders owner Charles Wang, but the Syosset resident is confident that Wang is a good guy "behind the scenes."
"He didn't complain when he was losing money -- he did what he had to do," Anzalo said as he watched his son and daughter skating on the Islanders Iceworks rink in Syosset. "How many businesses fail and quit? He kept the team here."
Not all fans were as forgiving of Wang, who announced Tuesday he would sell a minority stake in the team to Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky, before turning over majority control in two years.
Some blame Wang for years of Stanley Cup failure -- the team hasn't made it past the quarterfinals since he came on board in 2000 -- and others said they have felt betrayed since the announcement in 2012 of the team's relocation from its Nassau Coliseum home to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"Shame on the owner," said Adam Cline, of Old Bethpage. "It's his team and I'm sure he's making a living" from the move. "Think about it -- it's Long Island. You have no sports teams left."
Cline, an Islanders fan since the 1970s who said his home is filled with team paraphernalia and autographs, said as soon as the relocation was announced he "jumped ship to the Rangers."
Glen Head resident Sandra Murphy said her family has VIP season tickets to Islanders home games. Her husband and 10-year-old son never miss a match, but once the team moves to Brooklyn, that will change.
"I don't think it's good on a school night," she said. "Right now, going to and from the Coliseum, we get home by 10 o'clock at night -- he's in bed, he can go to school the next day."
Murphy's son Terrance sat on a bench near the Iceworks rink Tuesday afternoon as she helped him remove his skates.
"People will be really bummed out," Terrance said of the move. "I think they should stay."
Few fans expected they would make the trek to Brooklyn as often as they do to the Coliseum, but many said they would remain loyal to the team, and even supported Wang's decision to relocate.
"If there was a way for them to stay I would be all for that," Alex Charles, of Bethpage, said, "but I think it's the best move for the team."
Others were more reserved, saying they'd wait and see how the new management performs before forming an opinion on the power change.
"It could go either way -- positive or negative," Steve Campo, of Bethpage, said. "I'll tell you in a year from now."