New York Islanders co-owner Charles Wang – who first came aboard in 2000 – has passed away at the age of 74.
Wang is survived by wife Nancy Li, three children and his three grandchildren, via LIBN.com. Born in Shanghai, China, Wang co-founded Computer Associates International, Inc. (now CA Technologies).
Co-owner Jon Ledecky shared the following statement:
“We are heartbroken by the news of Charles Wang’s passing. New York Islanders’s co-owners Dewey Shay, Scott Malkin and I were privileged to be selected by Charles to be his partners in the team. Charles loved the Islanders unconditionally. The arena at Belmont Park will be just one of his many legacies left to the team and to Long Island. His unique personality, his wonderful sense of humor and his extraordinary wisdom will be greatly missed.”
Wang and former CA Technologies chairman Sanjay Kumar bought the Islanders in 2000 for a reported cost of $187.5 million. The Islanders had not won a playoff series since 1993, and they had missed the postseason in six consecutive years.
The Islanders finally began to turn a corner in the early years of Wang’s ownership. They qualified for the postseason in 2002, 2003 and 2004 – thanks to his willingness in letting the front office spending more money when it was necessary.
The franchise faced an uncertain future for a decade, due to financial and attendance problems and the fact its lease ended with the Nassau Coliseum in 2015. But Wang worked extensively and got the Islanders a home at the Barclays Center, where they have played ever since. Thanks to Wang’s efforts, the Islanders now have long-term security in Brooklyn.
Before the 2014-15 season, Wang sold part of the ownership to Ledecky and Scott D. Malkin. It was later reported that those two would move into majority ownership, which happened in 2016.
Wang worked hard and passionately to revive an Isles’ franchise that struggled throughout the ’90s and most of the 2000s. There were some fine moments under his ownership, and perhaps the franchise wouldn’t have lasted in New York without his efforts.
Charles Wang was 74.