Islanders cancel planned China trip
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has pulled the plug on the team's planned nine-day trip to China, Newsday reported on Monday.
Arrangements for the nine-day trip had previously been agreed upon by the team, the NHL and the NHLPA. But when the NHLPA began to follow through on making sure logistics including arenas, transportation and lodging met the union's standards, Wang became angered, according to the report.
Team general manager Garth Snow confirmed the trip was off, according to the report.
NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon told ESPN.com Monday that the union's planned logistics check was standard operating procedure for any event involving the union's membership and was not in any way a sign of disrespect for Wang or the Islanders.
"It's what we do," Weatherdon said.
Weatherdon said the NHLPA always sends staff in advance to other North American events, as well as Premier Game sites in Europe, to ensure there are no surprises for players taking part.
Weatherdon pointed out that when the Tampa Bay Lightning were preparing to play an exhibition game in Bratislava, Slovakia, in the fall of 2008, the NHLPA staff that visited the arena noted that there were nails sticking out of the boards. New boards were installed before the Lightning arrived.
Furthermore, Weatherdon said, the NHLPA had waived its normal percentage fee for participating in international events for the China trip, instead asking for a donation to Goals and Dreams, the union's grassroots hockey program, to benefit youth hockey in China.
Scott Burnside is a hockey writer for ESPN.com.