NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin met the media on Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum and made it clear they plan on putting competitive teams on the ice when they take over ownership of the Islanders in two years.
“Fifth ring,” Ledecky said, when asked what the new ownership’s goal is going forward.
Ledecky, who once owned part of both the Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, teamed up with Malkin, an overseas investor, to buy a minority stake in the Islanders from current owner Charles Wang. They will be minority partners until they take over for Wang prior to the 2016-17 season. Wang, who assumed majority control of the Islanders in 2004, will retain a piece of the team after ceding control.
“We’re thrilled to be here. It’s a great honor to participate in the tradition of the Islanders,” Malkin said. “I think we both have a great love for hockey. It was fundamental in our upbringings. Life has its moments of opportunities. You can decide if you want to step forward. Charles gave us that opportunity. We saw this as an opportunity to embrace things we believe and embrace the Islanders and what they stand for.”
Malkin also said he and Ledecky plan be sponges for the time being, learning from Wang about the inner workings of the franchise and reaching out to the fans.
“We’re gonna be on a listening tour for two years; listening to the fans, making sure they have a smooth transition to Brooklyn,” Malkin said.
“Going back to my fortunate time in the league I feel that a team is a community trust. Scott and I will be stewards of that trust,” Ledecky added.
According to Forbes, Ledecky and Malkin purchased the Islanders for $485 million. The deal was finalized earlier this month.
Wang said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was expected to be at Wednesday’s press conference, but had to decline due to the shooting at the parliament building in Ottawa that forced the postponement of Wednesday night’s game between the Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. However, Bettman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Oct. 7 that the Islanders are in good hands with Ledecky, Malkin and Wang.
“Charles’ intention is to stay in as well, but as life moves on I think he wants the opportunity to focus on other things,” Bettman said. “With Scott Malkin and John Ledecky, the franchise is getting two first-rate quality people who are enthused about hockey and the Islanders in particular.”
The retooled Islanders (4-2-0) are hoping to cap their long history in Nassau County with one last trip to the playoffs as tenants of the aging Coliseum. They will move to their new home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, next season. Wang was asked if any additional upgrades are planned for Barclays, which was not built for hockey and has some obstructed views, but is still considered state of the art in every conceivable way.
“Obviously we want to enhance the experience. It’s around 15,000 good seats. On the west end they added 200-300 new seats. I think they will be doing other things like that,” Wang said.
Ledecky said he attended the Islanders’ game in Pittsburgh on Saturday night and, in his opinion, the antiquated Coliseum is still a much better place to see a hockey game than the 4-year-old Consol Energy Center. He urged fans to take advantage of the team’s final season in Nassau County.
“It’s a special place. I would urge all the dads, bring your kids to Nassau Coliseum one last time,” Ledecky said.
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