Islanders Business Club members turned out in full force at the Nassau Coliseum Expo Hall on Tuesday night, prior to the contest between the Islanders and Rangers. It was a memorable event for those in attendance, who had the privilege of meeting former NFL quarterback and current WFAN radio personality Boomer Esiason.
IBC Executive Director Mike Bossy served as host to the event, interviewing Esiason on topics ranging from hockey to football.
The exchange included some friendly banter between the Islanders legend and Esiason—a longtime Rangers fan. Esiason even heard some boos from the decidely pro-Islanders crowd.
"When I was first introduced to hockey, the Islanders didn't exist," Esiason said, defending himself. "My dad first took me to a game when I was six and that was something we always shared."
"Well, I guess that's fair enough, but how about the 1970s and 80s?" asked Bossy, who met Esiason for the first time Tuesday night.
"I like to refer to those as the 'Dark Years' for the Rangers," joked Esiason, who was born and raised in East Islip. "That's when you were terrorizing the Rangers."
The conversation then turned to football, with Bossy asking Esiason for his analysis of the Giants' playoff loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. Esiason's response began diplomatically by saying that many players should be blamed for the loss. However, he concluded by noting that Eli Manning didn't come to play.
The discussion turned back to hockey, with Esiason giving his thoughts on why hockey isn't more popular in the New York City area.
"I'm not sure what it is," said Esiason, "but I love nothing better than to watch a great hockey game."
Esiason also spoke about the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which has raised more than $75 million in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis. Esiason's son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with the disease at an early age, but has reamained active through his teenage years, including playing on his high school's ice hockey team.
As a kind gesture, Bossy and the Islanders donated $3,500 to the Boomer Esisason Foundation.
Also featured at the IBC event was a Trade Show, which included businesses from the IBC showing off their products and services.
"As an Islanders Business Club member, it's a great opportunity," said Sam Pinto of Great American Restoration Services, Inc. "I've been an Islanders fan my whole life and there aren't better people to network with than Islanders fans."
Also part of the Trade Show was Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, which was giving out free massages to IBC members. Hand & Stone will be on the Coliseum concourse for the remainder of the Islanders home games.
Tuesday night's IBC event was presented by the North Shore/LIJ Health System. During the event, IBC Executive Director Mike Bossy presented a check to Jerry Kleinman, the Senior Director of North Shore/LIJ Health System Foundation, which represented a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales and the 50/50 raffle from Schneider’s Hospital Night, which was held in December.Click here
to watch Mike Bossy interview Boomer Esiason during the event.
FORMER HOBEY BAKER WINNER JOINS THE ISLANDERS
The Islanders have acquired right wing Junior Lessard from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Brett Skinner. Lessard will report directly to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
Lessard (leh-SAHR) has played in 41 games with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this season, recording six goals and five assists for 11 points. The 28-year-old Quebec native has played in 27 career NHL games with Dallas and Tampa Bay, scoring three goals and adding one assist for four points during parts of three seasons. Lessard has also played in 298 career AHL games, recording 86 goals and 92 assists for 178 points in five seasons.
Lessard attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as Top United States Collegiate Player in 2004. Lessard played 45 games in that season, recording 32 goals and 31 assists for 63 points. He was also honored as WCHA Player of the Year and was named to the WCHA First All-Star Team, NCAA West First All-American Team and NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. The Stars signed Lessard as an undrafted free agent out of college on April 15, 2004.