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Islanders All-In at Poker Event

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Two months from now they'll be battling on opposite sides of the puck, is going to go, but on Thursday night, New York Islanders players joined former teammate Matt Martin at his charity poker night to raise money for worthy causes.


Thomas Hickey , Johnny Boychuk , Josh Bailey , Casey Cizikas and more were special guests at the poker night, part of the draw that helped raise $75K for the Matt Martin Foundation, which supports the Islanders Children's Foundation.


"He's a good friend of all of ours, so it's important to come to this event, but most of all the cause is important, trying to get involved in the community and raise some money," Hickey said.


The event drew 330 people - doubling last year's poker night - including a host of local celebrities and Islanders alumni. Clark Gillies was on hand, as were Bobby Nystrom, Pat LaFontaine and Rick DiPietro.


LaFontaine, who has his own foundation "Champions in Courage" and is currently representing the NHL on a papal visit, said seeing Martin's Foundation and the Islanders support the community made him proud as an alumnus.


"It's one thing to play the game and be an Islander, but to be a true Islander you have to get involved in the community and give back," he said. "To see Matt, Josh, Thomas and all the players come here and support the event in the community and for a great cause, it brings back fond memories. One of the inspiring things that I always love was how the community supported the players and the players supported the community."


Martin appreciated the support from the legendary Islanders, as well as the current squad.


"Things change in pro sports. We're not on the same team anymore, but we're still friends and on top of that there are still bigger things in life," Martin said. "Raising money for a lot of different causes is important. All of these guys who are here tonight expressed that they wanted to come and wanted to be a part of it. I'm very grateful for that, obviously we wouldn't have this turnout if it wasn't for them."


Martin is leaving for Toronto on Saturday to begin life as a Maple Leaf, but his foundation will continue to support causes in New York, including the ICF.


"I've seen first-hand the effect this program has on kids getting into hockey, getting into sports and that's important," Hickey said. "There's a whole lot of reasons [to be at this event]. Obviously just what the event stands for."

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