There's no better time than during the off-season to start new programs that reach out to the local community. Earlier this month, the Islanders introduced ISLANDERS INSPIRE as a means for companies and individuals to offer children on Long Island – that might not otherwise get a chance – an opportunity to attend a game. Now, the organization is pleased to announce the start of a new program called "Islanders Pucks Into Bucks," geared towards benefiting local youth hockey programs.
The Islanders' new initiative has been kicked-off by three of Long Island's youth hockey teams, the Long Island Gulls, Green Machine IceCats and New York Apple Core. "Islanders Pucks Into Bucks" is a program committed to strengthening the relationship of the Islanders with local youth hockey rinks and programs throughout Long Island, New York City and the rest of the region.
The new initiative gives youth hockey teams an opportunity to purchase discounted Islanders tickets and re-sell them at a higher value. The profit earned goes towards equipment, ice time, travel expenses and financial aid for those kids unable to pay the team's dues in full. The "Islanders Pucks Into Bucks" program is an invigorating commitment by the Islanders to help continue the growth of hockey on Long Island and in the surrounding areas with a vision that more people per capita will be involved with hockey on Long Island than any place in Northeast by 2012.
"The cost of travel and equipment for youth sports has dramatically increased over the past three to five years," said Thomas Parisi, a parent of one of the Gulls and a member of its advisory council. "Fundraising has become a major part of all travel sports agendas. In order for fundraising events to be successful, they need to be rewarding, exciting and most of all fun to do. The Islanders have created just this type of plan. What better way for our Long Island youth hockey organizations to raise money than to sell tickets for our own NHL team, the New York Islanders! The youth hockey players love it because it is something very familiar to them. The parents love it because it is easy and provides an efficient way to ease the budget."
The Long Island Gulls, Green Machine IceCats and New York Apple Core are youth hockey organizations that play under the Long Island Amateur Hockey League (LIAHL) umbrella. The Gulls, IceCats and Apple Core as well as other organizations under the LIAHL provide over 20 youth teams (over 340 players) a safe and fun environment to play the sport of hockey. These boys and girls live on Long Island and range in age from 4 to 17. The teams compete against teams from all over the United States and Canada.
The Long Island Gulls are a Tier I USA Hockey sanctioned organization, while the Green Machine Icecats and New York Apple Core teams are Tier II USA Hockey sanctioned organizations. The Gulls skate out of Islanders Iceworks – the practice facility for the Islanders.
Since joining the Islanders staff, Islanders alum Steve Webb has been pro-actively working to improve the connection between the Islanders and local rinks and youth hockey programs. This initiative is just the start of bigger things to come.
"I'm very excited about the Pucks Into Buck program the Islanders established," said Webb. "It's a good way to show how much we care about youth hockey in the area. We've made effective strides towards reaching out to local youth hockey organizations, and this is a step in the right direction towards achieving our ultimate goal."
Mr. Parisi and the Gulls have just begun selling their tickets, but if all goes well, he and the other organizations plan to sign up for a second round of the "Islanders Pucks Into Bucks" program.
"Islanders Pucks Into Bucks" provides not just fund raising opportunities but additional benefits. The top selling organization, team and individual each earn extra prizes, which can include an end-of-season party at Dave & Buster's with a player or coach, an all-expense paid trip to watch the Islanders on the road, a chance to stand on the ice with the Islanders during the national anthem, VIP seats to an Islanders game and much more.
The "Islanders Pucks Into Bucks" program is available for select nights on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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