Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How the New York Islanders help in the community

    The New York Islanders played on Long Island for 43 years, before moving to Brooklyn in 2015. Despite the move, the Islanders remain active in the community of Long Island, and now Brooklyn. They are sincerely devoted to getting fans into hockey, honoring veterans and helping kids and adults with diseases or disabilities. The Islanders initiatives allows the fans to interact with their favorite players, while joining together to benefit the community. The Islanders view the fans as part of the organization and together can make a difference. “You buy a sports team because it’s a community trust and you’re really the trustees of it. You really don’t own it because the fans own the team. A sports team is a great platform to create change in a community,” Islanders owner Jon Ledecky said.

     “The Islanders are incredibly involved in the community, they do a variety of initiatives to give back to their fan base and to kids and families in need. The players always find time to give back to the community even though their schedules are extremely hectic between games and practices,” Islanders social media coordinator Rachel Schwartz said. Examples of their off-ice production includes the Islanders children foundation (ICF), which has an objective of getting youngsters into hockey, and helping with childhood diseases. The ICF has many programs, including Islanders Golf Outing, Casino Night, special themed jersey auctions, and league wide promotions, like Hockey Fights Cancer (HFC) and Hockey is for everyone, just to name a few.  The Islanders also show their appreciation for veterans, with their Wounded Warrior program. During each home game, the Islanders recognize and honor a vet for their service.  “It’s an honor for me to be a part of something special. I was only willing to do it because I love the Islanders,” said Army National Guard Captain Eddie Molina, who was honored for his service at a recent Islander game. The Isles also show people with disabilities that they can still play hockey. They skated with visually impaired children in December, and played wheelchair hockey with kids in February.  These programs don’t just bring joy to the fans, it’s satisfying to the players as well. “It’s nice to talk to fans in a different setting than being in the rink. That was always interesting and we enjoyed those days,” said former Islander Miroslav Satan. Since their arrival to the NHL in 1972, the Islanders have been leaders on and off the ice, creating generations of passionate hockey fans.

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