Nearly three hours after the polls closed in Nassau County on Monday night, Islanders Owner Charles Wang and County Executive Ed Mangano entered the lower concourse of Nassau Coliseum to address a somber crowd of more than 200 Islanders employees, union leaders and County officials.
Nassau County residents voted “no” on the public referendum: The measure would have brought a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment destination to Long Island’s hub and guaranteed the Islanders a home in Nassau County through 2045.
Wang said, “I have to tell you that I’m disappointed. To tell you bluntly, I’m heartbroken.”
|Owner Charles Wang of the New York Islanders leaves the Nassau Coliseum after announcing that the new arena voter referendum failed on August 1, 2011. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images) |
Undoubtedly, the thousands of Islanders fans who voted Monday feel the same way, but Wang reiterated that he is both committed to honor the team’s lease, keeping the Islanders on Long Island through 2015, and that a promising 2011-12 hockey season is on the horizon.
“We now have a season to concentrate on with a team that is bursting with a young core of talent sprinkled with the right mix of veterans,” Wang said. “This combination will bode well for the last four years of our lease. We will continue to bring the best possible concerts, family shows and exhibitions so Long Islanders can enjoy the events and keep their hard earned dollars in Nassau County.”
Wang continued, “Training camp opens next month; so hockey is right around the corner. I can’t wait until the puck drops at our home opener, October 8 at 8 p.m.”
The County Executive reiterated that he hopes the Islanders fate won’t be decided with Monday night’s outcome. He’s not ready to admit defeat and still hopes to find a balance that will bring a state-of-the-art arena to Nassau County.
“Tonight is not an ending,” Mangano said. “It is a beginning. We will find a new path, a path that brings people together, a path that solves the problem that blockades the redeveloping of this property. We have suffered for 10 years and have not been able to come together, but I love this county.”
Mangano continued, “I love what goes on in this area, and I still believe in a sports and entertainment destination. We’ll continue to work hard to find a balance so that we can create jobs and opportunities in our great county.”
After committing to a solution, Mangano commended Wang for all that he’s done for Nassau County.
“He (Charles Wang) certainly is a person who tried hard and tried to bring people together,” Mangano said.
|Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (R) addresses the media to announce that the new arena voter referendum failed as New York Islanders owner Charles Wang (L) looks on at the Nassau Coliseum on August 1, 2011. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images) |
Indisputably upset, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said Wang put it best when he said that he was heartbroken, repeating much of the same message as the Islanders owner and focusing on the excitement for the coming season.
“It’s disappointing,” Snow said. “That’s the best word to describe it. But that being said, there’s a season that’s getting started in October, we have training camp next month and we’re going to give our fans something to cheer about this year.”
The future of the franchise is strong.
“We have one of the most passionate fan bases and we’ve gone through four years of a rebuild and this is the time for us now to win. We have a committed group in that locker room and come September we’re going to be ready to go through a vigorous training camp and it all starts in October.”