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Grabner all-in for a good cause

by David Hochman / New York Islanders
Sports fans and poker enthusiasts alike flooded eleven tables at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square for the chance to play with former New York Giants star tight end Howard Cross and Calder Trophy nominee Michael Grabner in the Sports Profiles Plus (SPP) Celebrity Poker Tournament on Thursday Night.

About 100 players bought into the tournament for $200 each, with all net proceeds benefiting the Mt. Sinai Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cancer Ward and the FDNY Wounded Warriors/Ride 2 Recovery Program.

“This was a great event they put on for some really nice causes,” Grabner said. “We had a lot of fun playing tonight. The fans all had a good time and playing for charity, of course it’s going to be good.”

“This is the tenth year we’ve hosted this event and we keep growing and raising more money each year,” SPP Director of Event Operations Keith Wan said. “The athletes constantly support our causes so strongly and Michael was no different. He was extremely gracious with his time and very helpful.”

Grabner’s table of ten went down to the wire as the Isles leading goal-scorer nearly made it to the final table. Grabner was edged out on the final draw and he then proceeded to mingle with the crowd and help with the fundraising efforts.

“I almost had them,” he said. “It was a good table, I was playing well. I just missed a few hands at the end.”

A sports memorabilia silent auction raised additional funds for the charities and the Islanders winger assisted the non-profits a bit more, bidding on and winning a New York Yankees World Series plaque and a framed photograph of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

“It’s all for charity, so why not help out some more,” Grabner said. “I’m not a very big baseball fan, but this (the Yankees plaque) is a very cool collectible. And Tiger and MJ, that’s pretty impressive. It’ll be nice to hang on to.”

Grabner won’t be known simply for his goal-scoring prowess and blazing speed on the ice now. Fans need to add philanthropy to his list of top talents.

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