No one ever said Charles Wang isn't a brilliant man and this latest move proves it. This blogger has been warning of a possible move for the team for a long time and now, its back cover huge story material.
There is no doubt those who like to sit back with their Sunday paper thumbing through the Newsday today saw the back page headlines and 5 major articles concerning the people who would all love to see the NY Islanders become the Kansas City Scouts or the Saskatoon Icelanders.
The Islanders are going to play a preseason home game at a glistening new arena. No, not the new Nassau Coliseum, but the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. Yes you read that right. Also... yes there is more - they are moving their training camp to Saskatoon. Why is that significant? Well they have been trying to get an NHL team there since their failed attempt to lure the St. Louis Blues in 1983.
Back to Charles Wang - he knows hes not going to win a war if he starts one with the Town of Hempstead supervisor and current bane to the Lighthouse Project Kate Murray. He also knows that if he would have renovated the Coliseum without the Lighthouse approval he could kiss his legacy project goodbye because they will never approve it in its current plans, which ARE grand.
So what does Mr. Wang do? He says nothing. He acts. Lets play an exhibition game in the primary landing spot for the Islanders. Sports mogul Tim Leiweke I am sure had no problems with that because he is the one who has been trying to get a team in his glistening new arena.
If that wasn't enough of a sign from Mr. Wang then the Islanders go and move their training camp from Moncton to another possible landing site, Saskatoon.
Make no mistake readers this is a shot across the bow of the Town of Hempstead as to what will happen if Wang does not get how approval he has been waiting on for so long. The man has lost 20+ million every season he has owned the team. He has not done this because he is a great guy and doesn't care about losing money. He views the losses as a down payment on his grand project. He allows the arena project to move forward and there goes all of his leverage in negotiations.
Back to Kate Murray - In November after Mr. Useless Gary Bettman started going to the media with his "The Islanders need a new arena" rhetoric. Kate Murray was quoted as refering to Bettman as "that hockey guy" in saying and this is a direct quote - "That hockey guy can wax poetic all he wants" before totally dismissing anything he said. Believe me, I usally dismiss everything Gary Bettman says also, but in this case maybe we should all listen when he states the ridiculously obvious.
Worried yet? Well I am, and so are most of my readers and the fans I speak to at Islander games. Those in the organization will not comment on a move for obvious reasons but please Islander fans - Do not take these threats as empty. They are real and have been around before Johnny Come Latelies like Newsday and TSN reported them. Myself and other bloggers have been WAY ahead of the curve on this one and now the mainstream media has decided to chime in. Hey - better late than never boys.
Whats happening on the ice is not the concern anymore. Whats happening on the ice is secondary. The Islanders have that "Hartford Whaler" look right now. They have that "Quebec Nordique" look. That is very disturbing to me because no matter how bad the team ever was there was always that "well get 'em next year" mentality. Now? there may be no tomorrow.
I have been urging my readers to contact the Town of Hempstead and let them know you want an answer NOW, and not after their ridiculously long review period. Every study has been done and redone many times. Now is caught up in that bureaucratic black hole known as the Town of Hempstead and this is all I have to say. How dare they make anyone willing to turn a decrepit are into something special wait so long.
Kate Murray - The answer is YES. If your Town scuttles the Lighthouse project and the Islanders wind up the Kansas City Scouts just think of what will happen to that area. Long Island will be down to one pro sports team in the Mets and that's if you qualify Queens as Long Island. I guarantee you this Ms. Murray there are thousands upon thousands of people that will make sure you never keep that cushy job as Town Supervisor, and that goes for all of the people at the Town, all the little self righteous elected officials holding things up so they can do nothing but have their insignificant voice heard to people who would normally not listen.
Islander Nation and its hundreds of thousands of fans are all watching now Town of Hempstead. We are all aware. We know whats going on. You have had long enough. Approve the deal so the improvements can move on, or deny it so the team can go where its elected officials actually care about what its people really want instead of their own little petty agendas.
Its crunch time people - Call the Town of Hempstead and put the pressure on them. Let them know where you stand -
Town of Hempstead - 516-538-8500
Get in touch with your State Assembly - go to
Enter your zip code and contact your local assembly and make sure they see things our way.
Don't wait Islander fans. You wait and you ll need a satellite dish to see if Kyle Okoposo and Josh Bailey ever become the players we all hope they will.
The time for talk is over. Its time for action.