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HEROES WELCOMED HOME

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

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Denis Potvin
The Allstate "Core of the Four" Celebration began Sunday afternoon at the Marriott Hotel with a welcome reception for the ages. The 17 men who played on the four Islanders Stanley Cup teams, along with Bill Torrey and Al Arbour were greeted by thousands of enthusiastic fans that lined the procession for the "Walk of Champions."

Accompanied by their families, the Core of the Four members were overwhelmed by the revelry of the fans, many of whom were there 25 years ago for the Stanley Cup parades down Hempstead Turnpike. Islanders radio broadcaster Chris King introduced the players to thunderous applause.

"The energy of the crowd was electrifying," said Core of the Four member Anders Kallur. "I'm always amazed by the reception from the fans. You really couldn't ask for a better way to be greeted."

A select group of season ticketholders had the thrill of lifetime, joining the "Core of the Four" members as they made their way down the red carpet to the Nassau Coliseum.

"What a thrill," said MaryAnn Filangieri, who walked with Bob Nystrom. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to walk with not just the greatest players, but the greatest people you'd want to meet."

It was a heroes' welcome for the Stanley Cup champs who marched from the Marriott to the place they called home for so many glorious years – the Nassau Coliseum. Islanders captain Denis Potvin carried the Stanley Cup he hoisted four years in a row down the line of excited fans, who were in awe of the star power they were witnessing. With every turn there was another Hall of Famer or clutch goal scorer passing by. Former Islanders GM Bill Torrey had the distinction of anchoring the parade.

"This is absolutely fabulous," said Nick DiMattei, who was side-by-side with Torrey for today's event. "These were my heroes growing up, so it's a real honor to have been here today with them."

The "Walk of Champions" was just the beginning of an unforgettable day at the Nassau Coliseum for the Allstate "Core of the Four" celebration.

"What an exciting way to start the afternoon," said Islanders Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bourne. "Charles Wang and the Islanders have organized such a wonderful weekend for everyone. We hope the fans are enjoying it as much as we are."


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