This past week was a busy one for the New York Islanders. Along with two victories against the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres, they also contributed their free time to multiple community service causes. Earlier in the week they attended the Lady Islanders’ Bowl-A-Thon, and on Sunday, Jan. 17, many of the players took time out from their busy schedules to help with the 14th annual Telecare Telethon. The players in attendance were Josh Bailey
, Blake Comeau, Bruno Gervais, Jack Hillen, Andrew MacDonald
, Freddy Meyer, Kyle Okposo
, Rob Schremp, Jeff Tambellini, Nate Thompson and John Tavares
. Even General Manager Garth Snow, and team Owner Charles Wang were in attendance to support the cause.
Telecare is a cable network in the New York area that focuses on Christian Family Values. The annual telethon raises funds to support the network, and this year they are striving to bring the network to the public in high definition. The telethon was hosted by Monsignor Vlahn, who has been an avid and loyal Islander fan for many years.
Wang was the first to appear on the telethon and in reference to the players in attendance that day he said, “They care, and they want to help. We’re happy that eleven Islanders were able to make it tonight. They all support [the community] and understand the importance of giving back.”
After the players introduced themselves on camera, they got straight to work answering phones and taking donations from viewers calling into the network. The highlight of the Islanders’ visit however was the annual challenge set forth by the station when two priests compete against two of the players. While the Islanders have been a part of the telethon for the last seven years, the friendly competition between players and priests only began three years ago. The various games have included foosball, knock hockey and a table top hockey game, also known as bubble hockey. The Islanders have been the victors for the past three years, much to Monsignor Vlahn’s dismay, but he was hoping to end the streak this year in a game of NHL 2010 on Xbox 360. In an effort to increase his chances of victory, the Monsignor brought in a “secret weapon” to Telecare’s corner, high school senior from Chaminade, Sean O’Hara. The Islanders who took on the Monsignor and Sean were video game wizards, Kyle Okposo
and Josh Bailey
. After Bailey and Okposo realized that the game’s matchup was the Isles versus the Rangers, they knew that they had to get serious. The game itself was a little sloppy but the Islanders did manage to score a goal early on with a quick shot by Trent Hunter after a giveaway by the Rangers’ goalie. The game ended 1-0 and the Isles once again came out victorious against the network. After the game Bailey jokingly said, “Kyle and I came out on top, and I think that’s the important thing.”
While the Islanders had some fun during the event, they also helped raise thousands of dollars for the network. The total money raised was up to $160,000 with another six hours to go when the Islanders finished their time on the phones. The General Manager of Telecare, Joseph Perrone, was thrilled to have the help from the Islanders, and said that, “Charles Wang and the Islanders have been so supportive throughout the years in helping us out.” “To have the team’s presence adds a special component to the telethon because it energizes the viewers when they see the actual players answering the phones. We’re very proud of our partnership and friendship with the New York Islanders and Charles Wang.”