After the Islanders and Devils had retreated to their respective locker rooms, showered, and left the building, the Coliseum ice was hosting yet another hockey game. However, this one would not show up in the standings or the back pages of the newspaper. But for those involved, it would be the most memorable game of their lives.
“This is our second year working with MET-Rx to put this event together,” said Justin Johnson, the Islanders Senior VP of Corporate Partnerships. “It’s great to see the event come to fruition. MET-Rx helps our franchise bring an exclusive experience to some of our most dedicated fans, with the winners skating on Coliseum ice with former Islanders players, legends and Hall of Famers.”
The Met-Rx Skate with the Greats, which was held following the Islanders-Devils matchup on Sunday, March 6, showcased seven former Islanders with several recreational hockey players, including eight contest winners chosen to be a part of the game. Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Butch Goring, and Eric Cairns joined the White team to take on Bobby Nystrom, Steve Webb, and Benoit Hogue of the Blue team.
“I love being able to work so closely with MET-Rx, our sponsor, to put this event together,” said Mike Bossy, four-time winner of the Stanley Cup and the Islanders Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. “The best part of the experience is meeting the fans and realizing that this is an experience they’ll remember forever. As a former player, I enjoy being able to make the day of some of our fans.”
The game consisted of three, ten-minute periods and two-minute intermissions. The teams played to a crowd of family and friends who were treated to a true Islanders game experience, complete with public address announcer and intermission reports from the bench.
Prior to game day, each contest winner participated in an intensive, three-week training program with Islanders strength coach Jesse Demers at Iceworks in Syosset. In addition to the professional level strength training, the contest winners also received four tickets to the Mar. 6 game against the Devils, their own customized jersey, and uniform socks.
Patrick Cornacchiulo, Vice President of Sport Nutrition at NBTY (the parent company of MET-Rx) said, "The Skate with the Greats is a great local contest that gives our consumers the opportunity to get on the ice with some of the best hockey players of all time. The skill levels of each skater varies from novice to expert, but each skater's experience level doesn't take away from their overall excitement. The novice is just as excited to get on the ice as the expert. The event brings out the best in the players and contest winners. The thrill of hearing your name announced on the loud speakers brings out the kid in you. I personally plan on skating every year.”New York Islanders website coordinator Dyan LeBourdais contributed to this report.