If you missed it, the other day the Islanders announced that you were able to pick up your tickets for the draft party on June 22nd. Through promoting this they called it LI's Family Night of the Summer, and made it seem like we as fans should be proud that we have another lottery pick that we can celebrate. After doing this, they received very negative comments from fans on facebook who were rightfully so bashing the team, more specifically owner Charles B. Wang. Many fans have said they have been banned from the facebook page for comments they made. The Islanders received so many comments that they released a statement yesterday regarding this:
"We understand our fans’ frustration and are disappointed in the team’s performance on the ice. The New York Islanders thrive on the support of the fans, which is why we’ll continu...e to hold events like the Draft Party. As an organization, we will not stop having these events because they give Islanders fans the opportunity to show your support, share your passion with friends and family and enjoy a fun experience with your favorite team."
Fans seem to be equally if not more frustrated with the management of the team as the teams performance on the ice. When the team has ticket prices that rank in the top portion of the league but the owner cant even spend to the league mandated salary cap minimum, how do you expect fans to be content? That's just the tip of the ice berg but you get the idea. People say that Wang saved the team nearly 12 years ago now when he bought them so without him we wouldn't have team so he shouldn't be bashed. However, Larry Brooks put it perfectly last year when he said in one of his columns, just because he saved the village doesn't now give him the right to burn it down. By running the team on less then a bare bones budget that is basically what he is doing.
This year more then one team without an owner made the playoffs. The eighth seeded Kings are on the verge of making it to the Stanley Cup only needing one more win to advance on. However, the Islanders who have an owner haven't only missed the playoffs for five straight years. They have been amongst the worst teams in the league where points are handed out like candy, with a payroll under the cap floor, that only meets it by technicalities.
While a majority of fans are upset, you do have a handful that seem to be content and attempt to defend the team against the naysayers going as far to question peoples fan hood. One of these said fans is a man named Gary Harding. Gary is a former president of the Islanders booster club and a season ticket holder for 20 years. He is also a writer on eyesonisles.com. Recently he wrote a piece asking why there was so much hate in Isles country as evident by the comments in response to the draft party. He claims that the many fans who are looking for accountability are foolish because there will be no changes made to the team and in his opinion only shows the team in a bad light.
What I have to say to Mr. Harding and people like him is, I am surprised it took this long for fans to start to demand accountability. The idea of accountability is something that has been absent here for far to long, and Wangs free ride for saving the team is all but gone. Many fans are beginning to think if the owner doesn't support the team financially then why should I? I cant tell you how many people I know who wont go to games because of the disdain they have for our owner and the way he runs the team. However, they still watch/listen to every game and support the players.
If fans are seeing this then I am sure players are to. If you were a free agent would you want to play for a team where nobody is held accountable within the organization and if you exceed more then expected you'll be fired and replaced by someone who can do your job for less money. Additionally, a place where the owner doesn't spend money even on a competitive basis with other small market teams and is content with losing as long as the team isn't getting killed every night. Back in November during one of our rough patches our owner was actually quoted by Newsday saying, "At least were not getting killed every night." For years the excuse as to why we cant get players to come here is because of the Coliseum. While I am sure that doesn't help, I think the biggest issue by far facing the team in this aspect is the culture of the team, and that starts at the top with Wang.
For years many people just blindly accepted the way this team was run. However, now people are starting to wake up and realize this isn't how a professional sports team is supposed to be run. They realize its not right for a professional sports team to reach the cap floor just by handing out bonuses they know wont be reached so they don't have to hand out actual money and having coaches on the NHL staff with zero NHL coaching experience, amongst other things. People are starting to demand that the owner support the team like he asks the fans to and its about time!
If you would like to view Mr. Hardings piece which presents basically the opposite view point to mine you can click the link below: