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Charles Wang leaves behind a complex legacy

Minority owner Charles Wang passed away over the weekend at the age of 74. Wang passed due to aggressive lung cancer, which according to reports he chose not to get treatment for.

Wang recently sold majority ownership of the Islanders to Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky, but was still involved in a smaller role with the team as minority owner.

Wang’s legacy as owner of the Islanders is complex. He did both good and bad things with the franchise, but always had the right intentions in mind. He loved the Islanders and wanted the best for them.

Wang’s biggest mistake (mistakes, but they go hand in hand) was running the Islanders like a small business. When he could, Wang and co. would cut corners to save money, whether it be cutting down on the scouting budget or trying to come up with creative ways to lower the salary cap (a la Sumo Wrestling goalies).

With that small business mentality comes the mentality to keep people you trust around for longer than you should. This was the case with Garth Snow, who was a dear friend of Wang and who got more lives than a cat because of it. Wang was loyal to a fault, but loyalty does mean a lot in a cutthroat business.

Charles Wang is solely responsible for keeping the Islanders in New York, and more importantly on Long Island. He was at the forefront for a new Coliseum, which the legislators of Nassau County shot down right away. He proposed the Lighthouse Project long before Belmont was even an option. He handed the team over to two men who knew they were keeping the team in New York.

Without Charles Wang, there would be no more Islanders. They would probably be in Kansas City or Quebec. While Wang wasn’t always the most savvy on the ice, he sure put in maximum effort and care to ensure the Islanders were in good hands off the ice.

Thank you Charles Wang. History may have not treated you kindly, but when the Islanders open that brand new arena in Belmont, you should be the first name mentioned. It wasn’t always fun, but Islander fans know how much you cared about your team. Rest in peace and condolences to the Wang family.

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