Media and other guests were invited to a meet-and-greet luncheon with new New York Islanders co-owner Jonathan Ledecky in Manhattan Wednesday.
Among the highlights as reported by those who could attend were a commitment to Brooklyn and to be able to spend to the salary cap when necessary, a promise to continually improve the fan experience at Barclays Center, a distancing from the always shaky Ratner dream of playing six or so games per season in a renovated Nassau Coliseum, and the traditional owner pledge to let the hockey people run the hockey operations.
Yours truly was otherwise unavoidably detained (i.e. employed in other industries, alas), so here is a sampling of paraphrased quotes tweeted out by some of the reporters in attendance. Look for fuller coverage in Newsday, nhl.com, the Post, Daily News and others, surely.
On the Salary Cap, Owner Mingling
Ledecky said there are no financial constraints on Snow. Also said he won't involve himself in hockey operation decisions.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) July 13, 2016
Ledecky: there "are no financial constraints" on Isles hockey ops. "If we need to be a cap-max team to compete for Stanley Cup, we will be."— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) July 13, 2016
Ledecky: "The standard this year has to be we've got to win the 2nd round and go to the 3rd round. Eventually, you've got to win the SC."— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) July 13, 2016
On Brooklyn: 'Our Home' (and Coliseum is not)
Let's get this out of the way: the ownership is committed to making it work in Brooklyn.
Ledecky: "Nassau is wonderful in history. But we're building new history in Brooklyn." #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) July 13, 2016
New Isles owner Jon Ledecky, asked if he sees team staying long-term in Brooklyn: "Yes, I do...Barclays is our home."— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) July 13, 2016
On that note, when it's your home, you make it so:
Lots of talk about ways to improve Brooklyn experience. Said something to effect of, when you have a home, you work to fix it, not move.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) July 13, 2016
Ledecky has been to arenas all across the NHL. Wants to bring all the best things other markets are doing to Barclays Center. #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) July 13, 2016
On Nassau, Bridgeport
As part of Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner's hyping the Islanders' move from their longtime home and his dreams of developing a renovated Nassau Coliseum venue and property, he often alluded to having the Isles play preseason and even some regular season games back in their original home.
Mind you, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner have both said there was no such agreement (and strongly implied no such intention) to do so. Ledecky apparently indicated as much:
Ledecky also wouldn't commit to 6 games at renovated Coliseum. Said that's NHL's call & was deal w/those no longer involved (Ratner/Wang).— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) July 13, 2016
Furthermore, another side dream that won't seem to die...
Ledecky also threw some cold water on the idea that the Sound Tigers would move to Nassau.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) July 13, 2016
Ledecky on idea of moving Sound Tigers to Nassau: "we are happy in Bridgeport and we have a deal that goes another five or six years."— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) July 13, 2016
Finally, a bit about acknowledging history this season, when the NHL celebrates its centennial:
Ledecky said he will embrace #Isles alumni as NHL's 100th anniversary approaches. Says fans will be very pleased with what is planned.— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) July 13, 2016
Most of these things should not be too surprising to fans who have followed the team and news with a critical eye. If any of the above is somehow not a true reflection of their intentions, you weren't likely to hear about it through this venue.
However, it should really put to bed some of the long-running hopes (or fears) and rumors surrounding the incoming new ownership. They paid a pretty penny for this franchise, in the building and location where it is now. Part of that means growing the new revenue opportunities, and using that revenue to try to create an outstanding on-ice product.
They're in control now. Let's see what they do with their baby which we like to call our own.