The eight winners of the fourth annual Met-RX Skate with the Greats Benefiting NBTY Helping Hands Sweepstakes got the chance of a lifetime Saturday night to play with and against some Islanders legends at Nassau Memorial Veterans Coliseum.
Mike Bossy, Vice President of Corporate Sponsorship and Partnership Marketing and four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Islanders, took part in the event playing on the blue team.
“I come out here and have fun,” he said. “Met-RX NBTY is a sponsor of ours, and it’s a great event for the NBTY Helping Hands Charity. When I leave the ice, if our sponsor is happy and the people that came to watch are happy, I’m happy.”
The game took place following the Islanders 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, with two teams that included not only the sweepstakes winners and the greats, but also a few celebrity guests. Craig Carton of Boomer and Carton on MSG played goaltender for the white team. With some impressive and unlikely saves, he won the crowd over and was named the first star of the game.
“It was great to be a part of Skate with the Greats,” he said, “I would definitely do it next year. [Boomer Esiason] did score on me, which was a great shot, but if you count the saves I had against him, I think I came out on top. I was the MVP of the game, after all.”
The sweepstakes was open to the public and held over a two month span that allowed eight winners to not only play in the game, but also allowed them to train once a week for the final month leading up to Saturday’s event.
“Met-RX keeps on wanting to do the event,” Bossy said. “So I imagine they’re getting good response from clients. It works out great for everyone.”
One of the eight contest winners, Keir Johnson notably had the biggest cheering section in the Coliseum during the game.
“It was an absolute blast,” he said after getting off the ice. “It was absolutely the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life, other than the birth of my child.”
Not only was he thrilled to have been a part of such a great event, but he certainly took advantage of being on the ice with the greats. Having never competed with athletes of this stature before, he figured he would make the most of it.
“I actually asked Eric Cairns if he wanted to drop the gloves because I figured it would give me five minutes to sit and not skate. He actually surprised me and said no thanks.”
The list of former Islanders that participated included four members from the Stanley Cup winning teams of the 80s: Bossy, Bob Nystrom, Butch Goring and blue team coach Ken Morrow. General Manager Garth Snow, Assistant Coach Doug Weight and Eric Cairns from Islanders Player Development also took part. Vincent Piazza, Islanders fan and actor on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, laced up the skates as well.