The second-annual New York Islanders Casino Night was a record-breaking success, raising over $100,000 for the Islanders Children’s Foundation on Wednesday night at Jericho Terrace.
The Islanders traded in their blue and orange sweaters for sleek, black tuxedos to walk the red carpet with their wives and girlfriends and man the felt-green casino tables.
“People are having a good time and it’s a great event,” Islanders captain, and part-time Blackjack dealer, John Tavares said. “It’s obviously a great cause and it’s nice for us to get away from the rink a little bit and enjoy some time with some big supporters of our team.”
In addition to dealing cards and throwing dice, the players flowed freely with the fans, mingling, chatting and taking pictures with the Islanders faithful all night. On the tables, Kyle Okposo was dishing out 21’s in Blackjack, Anders Lee was lighting the lamp in Craps, while Matt Martin was spinning his lucky number, 17, on the roulette wheel.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Martin said. “People are doing pretty well at my table. I’m telling people to bet on 17 and it’s come up a few times. We’ve raised a lot of money for the ICF and we’ve had a lot of fun with the fans.”
"We raised a lot more money than we did the first time we hosted the event. It’s a good trend and we’re looking forward to next year to make it bigger and better.” - Community Relations Manager Ann Rina
All guests in attendance received gift bags upon arrival and walked out with signed souvenirs and prizes won on the casino floor. Islanders legends Mike Bossy and Bobby Nystrom were also on hand to take pictures, sign autographs and raise money for the ICF.
One hundred percent of proceeds benefitted the children’s foundation and this year’s crowd was more than generous with their donations. The live auction portion of the event raised over $40,000, with the top two items – a pair of road trips with the team – each pulling in $12,500.
“It was an excellent, excellent affair,” said George Mehr, who won a trip with the team for next season. “[My wife, Lori and I] had a great time playing games with the players. To win the trip – preferably to Pittsburgh – was a great cap on the night.”
Fans bid in silent and chance auctions for other great prizes, including signed sports memorabilia, exclusive events with the players and a signed Tavares Stadium Series jersey. With all the money they donated, the fans earned first-star honors at the end of the night.
The Islanders Children’s Foundation is dedicated to supporting Long Island-based, non-profit organizations that provide opportunities to children as well as a variety of in-house youth programming. The Foundation works with children’s charities that focus on the areas of health, education and youth hockey development.
Overall, the event was a rousing night of fun, drinks, music and raising money for a good cause. Players and fans alike were glowing in their black-tie attire and already looking forward to next year’s event.
“We had a tremendous night here,” Islanders Community Relations Manager Ann Rina said. “We raised a lot more money than we did the first time we hosted the event. It’s a good trend and we’re looking forward to next year to make it bigger and better.”
Here is Wednesday’s lineup from Islanders Casino Night.
Josh Bailey – Blackjack
Matt Carkner – Blackjack
Casey Cizikas – Blackjack
Cal Clutterbuck – Texas Hold ‘Em
Calvin de Haan – Blackjack
Mike Halmo – Craps
Travis Hamonic – Roulette
Thomas Hickey – Blackjack
Anders Lee – Craps
Matt Martin – Roulette
Radek Martinek – Blackjack
Colin McDonald – Roulette
Evgeni Nabokov – Let It Ride Poker
Brock Nelson – Blackjack
Frans Nielsen – Blackjack
Anders Nilsson – Money Wheel
Kyle Okposo – Blackjack
Brian Strait – Texas Hold ‘Em
Ryan Strome – Blackjack
John Tavares – Blackjack
Lubomir Visnovsky – Blackjack
Coaches – Blackjack