The Islanders’ Spring Hockey League is officially underway! While the children have not yet hit the ice, the young hockey players and parents got their first taste of how special the league—hosted by the Islanders Amateur Hockey Development Program—is going to be. On Saturday, children in the league had the opportunity to pick up all of their equipment.
Piles of hockey bags were set up for the participants to pick up at two locations—Islanders Iceworks in Syosset and The Rinx in Hauppauge. Nearly 100 children stopped in at one of the locations where their free, customized equipment was awaiting them.
Inside, the children found a complete set of brand new Islander-ized hockey gear. They received everything needed to play hockey from head-to-toe a helmet, shoulder pads, athletic supporter, hockey pants, shin pads, gloves, elbow pads, skates, socks and an Islanders jersey!
The three Iannuzzi brothers of Smithtown Anthony, Joseph, and Vincent were the first to arrive at The Rinx in Hauppauge to pick up their equipment.
“We can’t wait to play,” said Vincent, as he and his brothers tried on all their gear and got sized up for a stick.
Dylan Shmaisfuss, an 8-year-old from Brentwood who came with his father, were also pumped to pick up their gear.
“I am really excited to play!” said Dylan.
Dylan’s father, Steve, gave the program two thumbs up, saying, “This is a great opportunity for kids to play the great game of hockey, especially families who might have been hit hard during these difficult economic times.”
The Islanders Spring Hockey League provides entry-level hockey players with an opportunity to play ice hockey at no cost—equipment included! The Islanders know that it’s a big commitment, both in time and money, for a child to learn to play hockey and want to make it as easy as possible.
The Islanders provide the ice time, the equipment—and in some cases—the transportation, for children ages 6-14 to begin playing hockey. All we ask in return is that each child who participates sells 20 tickets to any combination of select games as a fundraiser. They are then prepared to receive the complete bag of hockey gear and step onto the ice for some professional hockey instruction.
“Today, the New York Islanders took the first step in assisting kids in getting a taste of being a hockey player,” said Dan Bedard, the Islanders Amateur Hockey Development Director. “Adults and children alike were excited as they tried on the equipment, many of them for the first time. The concept of the program is to assist this population in getting a taste of hockey and to assist these children in becoming active participants of the hockey community. The Islanders logos on all of the equipment serves as a reminder that it was the Islanders who helped engage and support them in their first steps towards playing hockey.”
Islanders players, such as Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and Rick DiPietro are also geared up for the league to begin. These players will all be supporting the children as they take their first strides on the ice.
“It’s a great opportunity for these children to get their first taste of hockey," Okposo said. "I am very excited to be a part of it and we know how important it is to grow the game of hockey here on Long Island.”
The pucks will begin dropping at rinks such as Islanders Iceworks, The Rinx, Newbridge Arena, and Cantiague Park as early as April 2nd.
Although the Spring League is now full and closed to registration, a fall league will soon be open for more children to begin to learn the great sport of hockey. If you are interested, please fill out the form below so that an Islanders representative can contact you about registering your child for the free hockey league.