One week after providing fireworks for their fans by drafting John Tavares
with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the Islanders were back at it again on Saturday. This time, however, the fireworks were real—as the Isles presented the Fireworks Spectacular at Jones Beach for hundreds of thousands of onlookers.
|Josh Bailey plays street hockey with kids at Jones Beach. |
In addition to presenting the event, the Islanders I.C.E. Tour was out in full force, with interactive tents along the Jones Beach Boardwalk. Fans were able to pose for photos and get an autograph from Islanders center Josh Bailey
, play street hockey, purchase Islanders merchandise, learn about Islanders initiatives—such as the Kids Club and Hockey Academy—and learn all about Islanders ticket opportunities.
“We came to see the fireworks and we’re big time Islanders fans,” said Larry Shapiro of Bethpage. “My son Max is 13-years old and signed up for the Kids Club.”
Chuck Schwartz, who is a lifelong Isles fan from Lindenhurst, was happy to meet Bailey and is excited for the upcoming season.
“The Islanders were the pride of Long Island and my kids are all Islanders fans,” Schwartz said. “I’d love to see a return to the years we had on Long Island years ago. I give (Islanders owner Charles) Wang credit for really trying to keep the team here and trying to put it all together.”
Bailey, who will take his turn with the Islanders I.C.E. Tour this coming week, was really impressed with the turnout at Jones Beach and appreciates the fans’ enthusiasm.
“I got to meet a lot of really cool people and it’s great to see the support a lot of the fans bring to the organization,” Bailey said. “There are a lot of fans that came up to meet me and I love meeting them, too. They’re really passionate fans and it’s great.”
Along with taking pictures, signing autographs and speaking with fans, Bailey took time to play some hockey with some of the young Islander fans. Bob Belotti of Deer Park brought his four children out to the street hockey rink, which was set up near the Central Mall, along with Islanders inflatables.
“We’re just enjoying the beach and looking forward to the fireworks,” Belotti said. “My son’s a big Islanders fan. It’s really nice that Bailey’s out here having fun with the kids. They signed up for the Kids Club and they’re all having a good time.”
One of Belotti’s sons—Vincent, who is 11-years-old—was having a great time playing hockey with the NHLer.
“It was fun but hard playing against him,” Vincent said. “He’s really good, but my brother got some shots past him.”
His brother, Rob, concurred: “He’s good, but I scored some goals.”
Back at the Islanders tent on the Central Mall, fans got the chance to spin the prize wheel, winning Islanders banners, ticket vouchers and more.
Finally, as the sun gave way to darkness, the jam-packed Jones Beach crowd was treated to a dazzling display of fireworks. If you missed seeing Josh Bailey at Jones Beach, be sure to stop by the Islanders Team Store at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville on Tuesday night at 6:30pm. The first 150 people to arrive are guaranteed to get an autograph.