Surprise! NHL approves sale of New York Islanders

In a vote that was not expected to happen until December, the NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of a majority stake in the New York Islanders from Charles Wang to former Washington Capitals co-owner Jonathan Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin.

Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed the vote to reporters on Tuesday, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, via Twitter:

It was announced last month that Wang had reached the deal to assume control after a two-year transitional period.

The approval of the Board of Governors allows Wang to close the sale and begin the transitional period, after which Wang will retain a minority interest in the franchise, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

The Islanders open their final season on Long Island before moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season.

The franchise rapidly rose to NHL prominence after it launched in 1972-73, reaching the playoffs in its third year and winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83.

But since a surprising run to the semifinals in 1993, it’s been more miss than hit for the Isles, who have not won a playoff series since then and have only reached the postseason six times in the last 20 seasons.

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