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CHARLES WANG TALKS WITH ISLANDERS UNIVERSITY

Islanders Owner gives advice and inspiration to revolutionary internship program he gave vision to

Thursday, 07.15.2010 / 9:49 AM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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CHARLES WANG TALKS WITH ISLANDERS UNIVERSITY
The New York Islanders introduced their premier internship program earlier this summer (Click here to read more about the Islanders University internship program).  As part of the program, the interns had the opportunity to spend an hour talking with team Owner Charles Wang.
 
“You’re part of the Islanders family now,” Wang began. “You know us, which is wonderful. But we are trying to create an intern program that carries on year after year. We are going to keep tweaking and making it better, but it’s the kind of thing that makes you guys excited about a specific profession. The best thing is to find something that you really like to do and then go do it.”

Wang told the interns that as a child, he wanted to be the first professional Chinese American baseball player – but as he grew up he realized that wasn’t a viable option.

He also disclosed that he didn’t know a lot about hockey when he bought the Islanders. “I had no idea what hockey was. I went to two games before I bought the team,” Wang said. “We bought the Islanders because we didn’t want them to move from Long Island. That’s a true statement.”

While there were many laughs exchanged between Wang and the audience full of interns, most of the time was spent educating the students on his business philosophies and different work-related experiences.

“We changed the course of the Islanders four years ago now. Garth has absolutely changed the way our system operates,” Wang said. “We bet on the young players, the draftees. So in terms of where we’re going and what I’ve learned, I’ve learned that there’s a very steep learning curve.”

In the ten years since Wang bought the team in 2000, the Islanders have taken steps in both directions, but the goal has always been to improve. He believes taking chances are important in new business ventures. They may not always be successful, but you need to be creative and you must think outside of the box.

“To build something that is sustainable, long lasting, you have to build a foundation that’s going to be different. Otherwise, you’re one of thirty teams doing the same thing,” Wang said. “That’s what [Islanders General Manager] Garth’s [Snow is] doing.

“He’s creating a sustainable team by building a solid foundation with our farm team and young talent that will one day play for the Islanders in the NHL. That’s what they’re doing in the operations and marketing, etc. They’re trying to do things differently,” Wang continued.

Even though Wang didn’t know much about hockey when he started his business venture, he quickly came to love the sport. He learned more about the rules and regulations of the game, but when his daughter joined a local travel team, hockey became a major part of his life.

“In terms of hockey, it’s the greatest sport. I really believe that. As you guys have met some of the players, they all come from great, great family backgrounds because of the commitment,” Wang said. “I learned this from Garth [Snow] when I wanted to send my daughter to travel hockey. You get sucked in to this sport and it becomes your whole life.”

 As Wang continued with a story about his daughter’s travel hockey days, he smiled. Even though he went to two or three games per weekend (90 games in one season) and multiple practice days during the week, Wang valued the time he was able to spend with his family.

“The whole season, it was the greatest thing in the world because these kids really bond with their parents,” Wang said. “Just picture the parent that has a child that gets on the ice when they are two, three or four-years-old. Until they are 10 or 11, you have to tie their skates; you have to help them put all these fancy things on, heavy stuff too. You even have to carry their bag because they can’t carry their bag with all the hockey equipment in it.”

In the end, he said, “The bond between the child and the parent is tremendous. So you find with a lot of hockey players, it’s really a family oriented sport.”

Near the end of the luncheon, Wang gave the IslandersUniversity students a lot to think about when he explained his strong beliefs about family values applying them to business.

“In terms of family, it’s so important that the same values that you place on family translate to business. How you treat people is the way you want to be treated, how you treat your loved ones and so forth. Those are the same values,” Wang said.

“Ultimately I don’t know enough about hockey, I leave that to Garth; marketing, operations, they’re all experts, but they know my values. They know we’re honest. We say what it is. We can disagree, but when we leave a room, we come to a conclusion and then we’re all behind it.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 23 16 6 1 61 57 33
2 PIT 21 15 4 2 76 49 32
3 NYI 22 16 6 0 72 59 32
4 TBL 23 15 6 2 81 63 32
5 DET 22 12 5 5 64 54 29
6 BOS 23 13 9 1 59 57 27
7 TOR 22 11 8 3 70 67 25
8 OTT 21 10 7 4 58 56 24
9 FLA 20 8 6 6 42 51 22
10 WSH 21 9 8 4 58 57 22
11 NYR 21 9 8 4 60 62 22
12 NJD 22 9 10 3 53 63 21
13 PHI 21 8 10 3 59 66 19
14 CAR 21 6 12 3 48 63 15
15 CBJ 21 6 13 2 51 76 14
16 BUF 22 6 14 2 37 72 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 22 9 12 -4 21
B. Nelson 22 10 10 6 20
K. Okposo 22 5 14 -1 19
R. Strome 22 4 13 10 17
J. Boychuk 21 2 12 7 14
F. Nielsen 22 5 7 5 12
N. Kulemin 22 4 7 0 11
N. Leddy 22 5 4 8 9
M. Grabovski 19 4 5 5 9
J. Bailey 14 3 4 5 7
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 11 4 0 .923 2.20
C. Johnson 5 2 0 .876 3.33

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