|Left to Right: Kimberly Dey, the Guerins, Karla Sillinger, the Hilberts |
Equipped with over $6,000 thanks to generous donations from the players and the Islanders Children's Foundation, Bill and Kara Guerin, Andy and Andrea Hilbert, Karla Sillinger and President of the Islanders Children's Foundation Kimberly Dey spent Monday morning at the Toys 'R' Us in Carle Place shopping for next week's hospital visits.
The local hospitals visits during the holiday season is an annual Islanders tradition, but with a new captain in place and a team committed to the community more than ever before, the Islanders went two steps further this year.
Not only did the players and their wives contribute to the shopping, which in the past had been done by front office staffers, each player also chipped in to the cause, doubling the spending money from years past.
"We thought it was only right to have each player help in some way," said captain Bill Guerin. "A little bit extra goes a long way in getting even more for these kids spending the holidays in a hospital."
Guerin was among the shoppers today that arrived early before going to practice and work later in the day.
"Boys are easy to shop for," said Guerin, who was in charge of picking out toys for boys, while his wife Kara did much of the shopping for girls. "You stick with the usual stuff like trucks and Transformers. That always works."
|Andrea and Andy Hilbert |
Meanwhile, Kara Guerin arrived early so was working double duty until her husband arrived. She dove head first into the shopping spree, which many people compared to the game show "Supermarket Sweep."
"You don't get to shop for this much stuff very often," said Kara. "It's great just to help out and gets these kids some fun toys for the holidays."
Among the popular gifts were DVDs of the latest Disney and Pixar threequels – "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Shrek." On the board game side, a new air hockey-type game called Electronic Hyper Slide and the Boutique Edition of Monopoly were favorites of the shoppers.
"I just try to remember back to when I was little and what I wanted," said Karla Sillinger, who took over today for her husband Mike, who was busy getting all three of their sons off to school. "I liked arts and crafts toys and things that could mess with your hair. It's been fun shopping for the kids."
The younger Hilbert couple, turned to their more experienced toy-shopping counterparts for some helpful hints.
"It's tough because you can look back when you were younger, but you don't know if kids today like the same things," said Andy Hilbert. "My wife Andrea has been taking charge and has done a good job for the both of us."
While the players and their wives thoroughly enjoyed their shopping spree, they also took their responsibility very seriously.
|Karla Sillinger |
Karla Sillinger was seen asking the shopping coordinator, Islanders Community Relations staff member Ann Rina if she could buy two things at $10 a piece as opposed to one worth $20. Bill Guerin wanted to know if he could spend a little with one of his gifts, which he thought would go over well with the kids. Of course, every request was granted, knowing they had the children's best interests at heart.
Even once all of the shopping was over and the store began to fill up, the Guerins as well as Karla stayed longer to do some of their own shopping.
"It was a great way to start the week," said Guerin, while pushing a cart full of toys. "We're really looking forward to giving these presents out to the kids. I hope they enjoy opening them as much as we enjoyed shopping for them."
Check out Islanders TV all season long to see behind-the-scenes video from community events like the Toys 'R Us shopping day.