Tthe largest international pee wee hockey tournament is underway in Quebec, and Long Island is well-represented. The Pee Wee Islanders, founded by Islanders legend Bob Nystrom, are taking part in the 50th Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament from February 12-20. Joining the Pee Wee Islanders in Quebec is a second team from Long Island, also featuring kids ages 11-12.
As a special tune-up to the Quebec tournament, both Long Island teams played host to Suisse-Romande Lynx from Switzerland. On Monday evening, the Pee Wee Islanders defeated Lynx 4-2 at Cantiague Park behind four first-period goals. On Tuesday, the Lynx bounced back with a 6-0 victory over Team Long Island.
An added bonus for the Swiss players was the opportunity to meet Islanders All-Star Mark Streit
—who is from Switzerland. Following the Islanders' morning skate on Tuesday, Streit signed autographs and met with each of the Swiss team's players and coaches.
"It's a great opportunity for our kids to meet a player like Mark Streit
, who has done so well in the sport of hockey," said Suisse-Romande Coach Terrence Kast. "Our team has competed in this tournament for nine years and we're thankful to the Islanders for setting up these games for us."
The Quebec tournament features 110 teams from 12 different countries. Attendance for the week-long event is expected to exceed 250,000 spectators. While all of the official games will be played at the Colisée Pepsi, the former home of the Quebec Nordiques, nearly a dozen other local rinks will play host to exhibition games between the participating teams.
"This tournament is very important to the city of Quebec," said Islanders Director of Amateur Hockey Development Dan Bedard. "Locals will take lunch breaks and just stop by the arenas to watch some hockey during the week. It's one of the most prestigious youth hockey tournaments in the world. Players like Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Roy, Guy Lafleur, Patrick Flatley and Rick DiPietro
have participated in the tournament. Even with all of his accomplishments, Rick still says the Quebec tournament was one of the greatest hockey experiences of his life."
The Pee Wee Islanders have had some success in the tournament, reaching the finals in 2003. Starring for the Pee Wee Islanders was Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Vladimir Nikiforov. The Pee Wee Islanders ultimately lost 3-1 to the Middlesex Islanders in a hard-fought battle.
"Our kids that go aren't going to remember whether they won or lost," said Bedard. "They'll remember the opportunity they had to play against teams from all over the world. Parents return talking about the incredible experience they had staying with a French-Canadian family and then going to wonderful events in the beautiful city of Quebec."
Part of the Tuesday night’s festivities during the Islanders-Kings game at the Nassau Coliseum included Tean Long Island and the Swiss team. The two teams took part in the flag ceremony.VALENTINE’S DAY PUCK SURPRISE
Fans at Tuesday’s game had the opportunity to purchase pucks signed by Islanders players for Valentine’s Day. Any fan who received a puck signed in gold was invited to meet the player who signed the puck following the game. MEDICAL HEROES NIGHT, PRESENTED BY NORTH SHORE/LIJ HEALTH SYTEM
The Islanders and corporate partner North Shore/LIJ Health System saluted medical heroes in the community on Tuesday. Honorees included the 1,000 EMTs and paramedics who make up emergency medical services on Long Island.
Scott Glazer from the Nassau Regional EMS council was interviewed during the second period and thanked the thousands of EMT workers on Long Island.ZEBRA’S CARE AT THE COLISEUM
The NHL official’s Zebra’s Care program at Tuesday’s game featured a pair of Big and Little Brothers from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Long Island
Tom Tymann of Floral Park and his “Little Brother” Christopher Green, 12, of East Meadow and Vil Ortiz of Massapequa and her “Little” Jose Carcamo, 10, of Westbury were treated to tickets to the game, a tour of the Nassau Coliseum, a bag full of Islanders goodies, a chance to high five the players, a locker room tour, and most importantly, the chance to meet the NHL officials prior to the game.
The group met NHL official Kerry Fraser prior to the game, who told them about how he has officiated more than 1,000 games in his career. After talking with all of the officials and taking a picture with them out on the ice, the group headed to their seats to watch the Islanders battle the Kings.