As we celebrate 50 years of New York Islanders hockey all season, it is on this date, 51 years ago, that is among the most consequential in franchise history. On Dec. 30th, 1971, the purchase of the Long Island hockey franchise to clothing manufacturer Roy Boe was made official by the NHL Board of Governors.
According to the New York Times, Boe, who passed away at 79 in 2009, owned about 20 percent of the Islanders, which he helped found in 1972, and served as general partner, overseeing the operation of a team. His first hire was his best, naming Bill Torrey the team's general manager. Boe was the majority owner as the team rose from losing the most games in the league in their expansion season to becoming a Stanley Cup contender in the late 1970s.
However, due to debt issues which included payments to the National Hockey League and a territorial fee to the rival cross-town New York Rangers, Boe would sell his shares to John O. Pickett in 1978, just a short two years prior to the team winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.
Before the Islanders, Boe owned the Julius Erving-led New York Nets of the American Basketball Association (ABA) during their two championship seasons. He's viewed as influential in arranging the ABA-NBA merger, but that too came at a hefty price that left him with a lot of debt, having to pay both an entry fee to the NBA and an "indemnification fee" to the New York Knicks. Sound familiar? He would infamously be the owner that sold Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers for
Boe helped arrange the ABA-NBA merger but at a price. He had to pay the NBA a $3.2 million "entry fee" and the Knicks a $4.8 "indemnification fee." He infamously sold Erving, one of the greatest NBA players of all time to the Philadelphia 76ers for $3 Million in 1976, the same year as the merger. Later in life, Boe became the first owner of the Bridgeport Soundtigers of the American Hockey League (AHL).