The New York Islanders are active members of their community, visiting kids in hospitals, speaking to schoolchildren and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for the Islanders Children's Foundation. Before the 2017-18 season even started, the Islanders had raised over $100K for the ICF.
But there's always more than can be done. An extra life to impact, another family's spirit to lift, another cause that needs financial support. The Islanders are stepping up their community involvement with the Islanders Charity of the Game Program, part of the team's Hockey with a Heart initiative.
"From Day 1 since I came in, the organization has put a big onus on giving back to the community," Josh Bailey said. "We've always tried to be involved in any way we can."
This season, the Islanders are raising money and awareness for a host of different non-profit groups this season during home games.
The causes range from cancer to childhood obesity, animal treatment to Alzheimers, whatever is close to each player's heart. While the Islanders are best known as hockey players, they are all people-first and suiting up to play a game doesn't shield anyone from the issues that can affect all of us.
The organizations featured include the United Heroes League (Nov. 16), Alzheimer's Association (Dec. 1), Smile Train (Dec. 11), New York Police and Fire Widow's & Children's Fund (Jan. 7), You Can Play (Feb. 3) and North Shore Animal League (Apr. 3).
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"We do a lot of different things at the Islanders and that's one of the great things with the organization is how much we try to give back to the community," John Tavares said. "It's a lot of fun for us to give back."
Not only will the team be hosting a charity of the game this season, but providing fundraising opportunities for each charity the night of their awareness game. Fans will have a chance to participate in raffles for autographed merchandise and special VIP experiences like high fiving team, Zamboni rides, sitting on the team bench for warm-ups or event getting a chance to take on a game from the owners box.
The Hockey with a Heart program will run in conjunction with the league's established initiatives like Hockey Fights Cancer. The Islanders have already hosted two pediatric cancer awareness nights with St. Jude's Children's Hospital and Alex's Lemonade Stand, as well as the Susan G. Koman Foundation. They'll have nights dedicated to blood, prostate, skin and breast cancer awareness over the next month. November 5 is the team's Hockey Fights Cancer night.
Join the Islanders in supporting these great causes all season and showing the world what hockey heart is all about.