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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Mike Bossy, Kevin Connolly, the Islanders Business Club and United Way of Nassau County host over 250 local children provided with $250 gift cards at Modell's in East Meadow


Bossy and Connolly with Matthew, Ryan and Jahni from Yours, Ours and Mine Community Center
Think of the show "Shop 'Til You Drop," magnify it by 125 times, turn the contestants into kids, and you might get a sense of what Tuesday morning was like at Modell's in East Meadow.

Thanks to the generosity of Modell's, the Islanders Business Club, Dunkin Donuts, Bossy's Bunch, North Shore Motor Group, Parts Authority, Tuscan Dairy, KDJ Advertising, Commerce Bank, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Winters Bros., and Alure Home Improvement over 250 kids from local support groups – 251 to be exact – spent Tuesday morning taking over Modell's with $250 gift cards to be spent on anything they desired at the East Meadow location.

"We have a great relationship with the Islanders," said Manager of Sports Marketing and PR for Modell's, Rich Lampmann. "This is really a special event to have 250 kids come out to a store with us and the Islanders administering it. It's a good feeling."

The kids were selected based on hundreds of letters submitted answering the question, "What do the holidays mean to them." The head of each youth center was in charge of selecting the best entries, with the winners making the trip to Modell's on Tuesday."

"This is the greatest opportunity for kids ever," said Youth Director of Yours, Ours and Mine Community Center in Levittown, Alicia James. "I hope that this is an annual event for kids. I can't even express how wonderfully some of the kids expressed themselves about what the holidays mean to them. The kids were wishing for things not just for themselves. It's a lesson learned for everyone. I'm just thankful for Mike Bossy, the Islanders and United Way."

Upon entry, the kids from the different organizations were greeted by the Islanders great and Executive Director of the Islanders Business Club Mike Bossy, along with Entourage star Kevin Connolly, who flew in from Los Angeles last night to attend today's event.

"This is a fun thing to do during the holidays," said Connolly. "It's madness in here, but everyone seems to be having fun, and that's all that matters."

Once in the store there was what many dubbed "organized chaos." Kids, accompanied by staff members from their respective programs, as well as Islanders employees browsed the shelves for anything and everything.

Equipped with giant garbage bags, the youngsters began their dreamlike shopping spree with unparalleled excitement. Rick DiPietro jerseys were flying off the wall, Pokemon cards were being snatched from shelves and the ever-popular 14-wheel Flowboard was seen in a number of kids' hands.

"Mike Bossy and the Islanders have done a great job raising money and organizing this event," said Christopher Hahn of United Way of Nassau County. "It's been a great experience giving some underprivileged kids on Long Island a better holiday. Mike Bossy was a great teammate with the Islanders and he's been a great teammate working with us to give these kids a better holiday."

The holiday spirit was never more present than at Modell's this morning. Despite the initial urge to want to spend all $250 for themselves, many of the children took this opportunity to give to others. Matthew Philips from the Yours, Ours and Mine Community Center did some shopping not just for himself, but also his family members and friends who were not one of the 251 children at the event.

"For me, I bought a flowboard," said Matthew pulling out the 14-wheel monstrosity. "And for my brother I bought some sneakers and some for myself. It's the holiday, so it was only right to buy gifts for other people also."

Despite the craziness of housing 250-plus people in one store, the event was a huge success for one reason alone – all 251 kids exited Modell's with huge smiles on their faces.

"This event started out real small," said Bossy. "I was only supposed to bring 50 kids shopping, but after getting a sponsor, we had all this extra money, so we ended up bringing 251 children here today. The kids are also all coming to the Islanders game tomorrow night against Buffalo. United Way was a huge help in securing the kids to come to the venue today. And another number of Islanders sponsors were instrumental in getting all of the money together. Also, a big help from Modell's who leant us their store. It's very easy to give a check and pass something off, but I wanted to actively participate. I wanted to be here and see the smiles on the kids' faces. It's been a great day."

Click here for tickets.

Get to the Nassau Coliseum tomorrow night when the Islanders meet the Buffalo Sabres for the fourth and final time of the season.

With the Islanders having taken two of three games on the season so far from the defending Presidents' Trophy winners, they'll look to win the season series for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

The teams have scored a combined 23 goals in their first three meetings, so expect another barnburner Wednesday night as the Islanders look to get back to their winning ways.

Click here to purchase your tickets now.

Home for the Holidays Ticket Pack

For only $99 get four tickets to the Islanders-Washington game on Saturday, December 22 and a $25 gift certificate to Friendly's.

Bring your family to our home for the holidays. On Saturday, December 22nd, take a break from your holiday shopping and take your family to New York Islanders Home for the Holiday Night at the Nassau Coliseum when the Islanders face-off against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Santa, the Ice Girls, and Sparky-Claus will be there to help you celebrate the holiday season.

As a special gift to Islanders fans, we've created the Home for the Holidays Ticket Pack. For just $99, fans receive four tickets to watch the Islanders battle Washington on December 22, plus a $25 gift certificate to Friendly's.

The Islanders have cooked up an exciting evening for the final game before Christmas. All kids 14 and under will receive a secret holiday gift upon entry, courtesy of the Islanders Children's Foundation.

To order your Home for the Holidays Ticket pack, please click here and fill out the form at the bottom.

Check out Islanders TV and search "BOSSY" for complete coverage from the event at Modell's.

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