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Report: New York Islanders owner Charles Wang regrets buying team

MELVILLE, N.Y. - New York Islanders owner Charles Wang says he regrets buying the money-losing NHL team nine years ago.

"If I had the chance I wouldn't do it again," Wang told Newsday.

Citing the team's annual audited financial reports, Newsday reported Saturday on its Web site that Wang has spent US$208.8 million - an average of $23 million per year - to keep the team operating. He also spent $74.2 million when he and Sanjay Kumar bought the club and assumed $97 million in liabilities.

"His numbers are real," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Newsday. "Yes, we're aware the Islanders lose money, a significant amount of money. And it goes back to the team's need for a new arena."

Wang said he initially assumed Nassau Coliseum would either be refurbished or replaced within a few years, but his proposed $3.7 billion Lighthouse Project has been held up and is still under review by the Town of Hempstead.

"Never in my life, would I have anticipated this thing could be dragged out for seven, eight years," said Wang, the founder of Computer Associates.

An NHL-worst 26-47-9 this season, the Islanders will play a pre-season game in September in Kansas City, Mo., prompting speculation about a move. Officials in Willets Point in Queens also have expressed interest in the team.

"I'm not saying I'll move," Wang said. "I'm saying I'll explore all my options."

Wang and Kumar, the former Computer Associates chief executive, bought the Islanders in 2000 for about $190 million. Wang bought out Kumar - serving a 12-year prison term for a $400 million accounting fraud scandal - in 2004.


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