Sixteen years ago, Charles Wang and then partner Sanjay Kumar bought the New York Islanders for $187.5 million. When they bought the team, Wang talked of a future that would include years of greatness on the ice. Soon after, he began talking about plans for a gloriously new Nassau Coliseum.
In some ways, little has changed since Wang’s celebratory entrance into the world of hockey. Here’s a look at what the Newsday Editorial Board wrote after Wang took over in 2001 (SPOILER ALERT: We didn’t quite get we hoped for).
When you're done, click here to read what Randi Marshall wrote on the last day of Wang's ownership of the Islanders.
The Islanders hockey franchise has lately been going through owners the way the Yankees' boss used to go through managers. So Islanders fans have got to be pleased that the team's new proprietors, Computer Associates moguls Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar, have what lawyers at bail hearings call "roots in the community."
These are solid guys with a Fortune 500 company headquartered in the middle of Long Island. They're not looking to move the Islanders elsewhere, and they can afford to spend enough money to make the team worth watching again. Without a winning season since 1993, the Islanders have been playing to thousands of empty seats at the Nassau Coliseum.
But this sale is not just about the Islanders. It's also about the coliseum, which is obsolete by the skybox standards of the Third Millennium.
And most important of all, it's about what shape the Nassau County Hub will take in the next generation.
The county, which owns the coliseum, is locked into a lease for the next 15 years with a hard-nosed management company, SMG, which could block plans to redevelop the site. For that matter, so could Hempstead Town, which controls the zoning there.
No wonder Wang said the coliseum's future was "another topic for another day," when the question was raised at yesterday's press conference.
As Miss Adelaide memorably sang in "Guys and Dolls," you can't get alterations on a suit you haven't bought, and the Islanders sale isn't official until the National Hockey League ratifies it.
But when Wang takes up the coliseum topic again, the deal he makes will matter a lot more to the future of Long Island than whether his hockey team wins four more Stanley Cups.