Charles Wang Reacts to Islanders, Nassau Coliseum Referendum Defeat

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

I could spend time discussing how I don't think this is it for the Islanders in the metro area -- maybe not even (shockingly) for the Islanders in Nassau County -- but the reality of the 30-year lease that has crippled this team for decades is that ... it ain't over until 2015. So we have as many as three or four more years to occasionally incessantly mull over the options in an environment of uncertainty, against a political backdrop where building it all by yourself isn't acceptable and building it with public help is likewise unacceptable. Almost morbidly, County politicians on both sides are already talking about RFPs...for an arena. Yet again. Good luck with that; it's worked so well before.

Coverage and links and stuff to come as we find them and people add them in comments. Maybe a few more missives from us authors here in the days ahead. But for the near-term, I prefer to digest it from the man himself, Charles Wang, the longest-serving solo owner in club history, who has been told by the constituents and shakers of the land where he grew up, "No, don't build it yourself. Oh, and no we won't help you build it either." (Sounds like a municipality that doesn't want an areener or pro team anymore. Good thing the region is big enough to conceive of other options. It's not over for Nassau, but it's no longer in their hands.)

Video of Wang's remarks is here, at Fios (it's after Ed Mangano's, um, sunny remarks). [Update: Transcript of Wang's remarks is here.] The salient parts for me go like this:

It's a very emotional time for us. We are not going to make any comments on any specific next steps. We are committed to Nassau Coliseum until the year 2015. And like we said all along, we will honor our lease. We now have a season to concentrate on a team that is bursting with a young core of talent, sprinkled with the right mix of veterans.

Training camp is just around the corner. I can't wait until the puck drops, at our home opener, which is Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. So come out and watch us play. ... And I have one last thing: Let's go Islanders.

As a hockey fan who thinks about this team pretty much every day -- just like you do -- I have to echo that sentiment. I can't control where Plans X, Y and Z go, so I'm not going to occupy myself with them all season long. I don't believe this is the end -- but hell, if the next four seasons are the end, then I might as well enjoy them.

Cheers to all of you natives and ex-pats who occupied yourselves with this, and worked so hard to educate other voters. And goodness, like Wang said early on, goodness, cheers to all those employees and volunteers who gave countless hours to this. As much as this disappoints me, who was guided to this faraway team by my Al Arbour-worshiping father, I know I can't conceive of how much this affects you on an even deeper emotional level.

So don't let me discourage you from discussing the alternatives and other options for this franchise's future in 2015. Those are lively topics around here with some interesting ideas. But forgive me for echoing Wang here: For the most part I plan to focus on the team that plays the 2011-12 season, since hockey is made up of theatrical unknowns that I pay to watch, while politics and development dealings are theatrical unknowns that reveal themselves in carefully coded press releases.

Indeed, training camp is just around the corner. Blake Comeau's arbitration is this Thursday. Let's go (and stay near, please) Islanders.

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