New York Islanders fans are still coming down from the almost golden laced words from their new majority owner Jon Ledecky. But words need to turn to action.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype following New York Islander’s owner Jon Ledecky’s almost perfect serenade to the fanbase and media alike.
He promised success, he promised winning, he promised culture change, and he promised a cup. These are all things, in some way or another that all Isles fans have been harping for some time.
We need to be an attractive destination, we need to change the culture, we need to win, and we want that fifth Stanley Cup. The only issue was combining these into a linear model that would actually yield results.
Much easier said that done though. But tidbits of this plan have been put in place already and the results are coming in.
Changing the Culture
The culture has changed for the Islanders. This isn’t the result of the Ledecky/Malkin combo buying a majority stake in the team. It goes back to Wang. Give credit where credit is due.
A while ago, Wang tried to enact his vision for the franchise and grow it to be on par with some of the larger franchises in the league. Back in 2011, he had a vision to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum and the massive underused area it sat on.
He would never see that vision enacted, but the idea was already sown. The ownership, led by majority owner Charles Wang wanted better. The Islanders deserved to play in a barn that suited their aspirations. If it couldn’t do so in their traditional home, they would find one that suited their needs.
Now it can be argued that the Barclays Center isn’t the perfect fit. It wasn’t built with hockey in mind, the scoreboard is off-center and certain seats can’t see a significant portion of the attacking zone. But the Barclays did offer the New York Islanders franchise something they couldn’t pass up.
The Barclay Model
The opportunity of guaranteed income. At the Coliseum the Isles, like all the other NHL franchises, have dominion on the business side of the franchise and as such reap all the proceeds for their efforts. The Islanders flipped the script with the Barclays Center.
Barclays runs the business side and keeps gate receipts, concessions, etc. In return, Barclays gives the Islanders a guaranteed payout. Under the old-school model, the Isles lost money, in the millions. Under this new-school structure, the Islanders make money.
To match their aspirations the Islanders needed to change the way they operated. And they did that. In order to spend on player acquisition that Islanders needed to fix their balance sheets. Spending near the bottom of the league generally returns you the same position in the standings.
A change in the culture of the franchise should lead to winning, with means success, which should bring them close to a cup. There’s no way to guarantee a cup. But the Islanders have a plan. They’ve sorted their business affairs, next comes sustained winning. A third100 point season would galvanize the Islanders new winning ways.