For the New York Islanders, their work off the ice has always put things in perspective.
So while there's disappointment in falling short of the team's on-ice goal this year, the Islanders have a lot to be proud of for their charitable work and the impact they've had on their community. The Islanders helped raise $277K for the Islanders Children's Foundation, a remarkable sum that will benefit kids in need in Brooklyn and on Long Island.
The Islanders donated their time, from dealing cards at the annual Casino Night to swinging the sticks at the golf outing. In turn, the fans donated their money.
"It shows how good of a community we have and the relationship we have with our fans that jumped on board to fundraise," Anders Lee said at his personal pediatric cancer fundraiser, an event that raised an additional $100K for Cohen Children's Medical Center.
Video: Anders Lee Kancer Jam
From Lee's Kancer Jam to bidding on Hockey Fights Cancer, Military Appreciation and St. Patrick's Day jersey auctions, Islanders fans did their part.
But while the Casino Night, Golf Outing and Jerseys off the Back were all staples of the Isles charity initiatives, the team went a step further this season, reaching out to new causes like working with visually-impaired kids.
Taking visually-impaired kids onto the ice for their first time left a lasting impression on the players. Thomas Hickey, who already works with the Special Hockey Association of America, said the event was one of the coolest community events the team had done.
Video: Islanders skate with visually-impaired kids
"It's something we do every day and you take for granted, but it's a privilege to play hockey every day like we do," Hickey said. "When people think it's cool and a privilege for themselves to be on the ice, it puts it in perspective. It's fun to share it with other people."
There's that word again: perspective. NHL games are often described as a battle, but the Islanders know there are men and women in the military fighting real battles every day, putting themselves in harm's way to preserve our freedoms. So on Military Appreciation Night, the Islanders invited 1,000 military members to the game as their guests - in addition to the Welcome Home Veteran program that runs during each home game.
Video: TBL@NYI: Islanders host Military Appreciation Night
The Isles supported North Shore Animal League by selling pucks and paws calendars, raising $15K and awareness for the Long Island-based animal shelter. The experience was so impactful that Calvin de Haan adopted Mia, a four-month old, boxer-mix the night of the photo shoot.
Video: Islanders help spread awareness for animal shelter
The Islanders also did their part to grow the game, expanding the floorball program to reach kids in 144 schools. With the help of the Islanders alumni like Clark Gillies, Butch Goring and Bobby Nystrom, the team started a sticks and skates program, offering free skating and hockey lessons in Prospect Park.
There was so much more. There were the annual hospital visits, where the Islanders delivered gifts to kids in the hospital around the holidays. There were the school visits and programs, using hockey tickets to entice and motivate kids to keep their grades up. There were the player programs, whether it was Travis Hamonic meeting with kids who had lost a parent, or Andrew Ladd rewarding kids who made a difference in their community. John Tavares, Bailey and Hickey have their own programs and win or lose, they're giving locker room tours all with a smile on their face.
Video: Johnny Boychuk gives souvenir to fan battling cancer