Islanders players, coaches and fans gathered early Sunday morning in Farmingdale for the fourth annual Islanders Children’s Foundation Day at Adventureland. Islanders jerseys flooded through the parking lot and the orange and blue took over the amusement park.
Season ticket holders started the day at nine o’clock, while doors opened to the general public at 11. As the Islanders took their positions outside of various rides and amusements, fans lined up to meet their favorite players for pictures and autorgraphs.
Head Coach Jack Capuano was just as excited to join in on the fun.
“It’s great you come out here you see fans that you don’t get to see too often but you see throughout the years,” Capuano said. For me it’s always interesting listening to what the fans have to say about the team and players. Just the dialogue you have with them is great and you try to answer their questions to the best of your ability. They always raise some great points.”
Lifelong fan and season ticket holder Stephen Weisman of North Bellmore has attended several fan events over the years and always loves coming to Adventureland.
“It’s great to see the players in a relaxed and fun environment,” Weisman said. “As a season ticket holder you meet the players year after year and you start to feel that you know them and they are just as excited to see you as you are to see them.”
For Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, spending time with the fans is a fun way to pay them back for all of their support.
“It’s great, it’s obviously fun being here at Adventureland with the music going and everyone having fun,” said Hamonic. “For the season ticket holders, you start to recognize them after a few events and you start to know them on a personal level, which is great.”
Just like many of the fans, Hamonic was looking forward to getting his turn on some of the rides.
“I’d like to go on the Hurricane and the Frisbee with Colin McDonald later; that could be fun. We’ll see how long he could last on that.”
Just after meeting Travis Hamonic, Chris from Whitestone, N.Y., was excited to share his experience.
“I’ve been coming to every event since 2009. It was great to finally meet and spend time with Travis Hamonic. He’s a great guy and it feels good to wish him and the rest of the team a good season. “
Just across the brick walk path, was forward Cal Clutterbuck. After being acquired this past offseason, this was his first time at Adventureland.
“Coming to a new place, you try to do stuff for the fans and they are the ones you’re playing for,” Clutterbuck said. “To take out the time to meet them is the least we can do.”
Players were scattered throughout park, so wherever you turned there was an Islander ready to sign an autograph and take a picture. For nine-year-old fan Patrick, from Queens NY., Sunday was very special.
“My dad always brings me to weekend home games and I love going and seeing my favorite players. Today was my fourth time meeting John Tavares and he is so nice. Now I have a ‘JT’ autograph on all my jerseys.”
Islanders forward Kyle Okposo shared the sentiment that community events like Sunday’s are all about the fans.
“It’s great, they come out here to support us and the fans are a big part of our team and our organization,” Okposo said. “It would never be as much fun to play games without them.”
The Islanders fans get to see their team on the ice again Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum when the Islanders host the Vancouver Canucks.