UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ The sale of the New York Islanders finally came to a happy ending for Howard Milstein.

``We are absolutely delighted that we were able to close this transaction,'' Milstein, one of the new owners, said at Wednesday night's Islanders game with the Dallas Stars.

After seven months of negotiations, the Islanders were officially sold to New York Sports Ventures, headed by Milstein and Steven Gluckstern.

The new owners were scheduled to hold a news conference today at the Nassau Coliseum.

When the sale was announced Wednesday night to the crowd of 10,753 in the third period, it was met with a standing ovation. The crowd didn't have much else to cheer about, though _ the Islanders were on their way to a 4-1 loss.

New York Sports Ventures purchased the team from John Pickett for $195 million. The deal includes the team, the cable television contract (worth a total of about $500 million) and the 70-acre tract of land that surrounds the Coliseum.

Gluckstern, head of an insurance firm, and Milstein, who deals in real estate, will each own 45 per cent of the team. Gluckstern was formerly a half-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Pickett bought the team outright in 1978, after serving as an original minority owner under Roy Boe. And after rescuing the team from near bankruptcy and serving as owner during New York's four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-1983, Pickett started to lose interest in the team. He moved to Virginia and distanced himself from the Islanders, and the team started to collapse.

Pickett thought he had the team sold last year to Dallas businessman John Spano, but Spano was deemed fraudulent in his financial holdings, and the deal collapsed.