The Stanley Cup being on Long Island was reason enough for hockey fans to flood Northwell Health Ice Center on Saturday morning.
That's all it took to convince Aaron Crocco to bring his two six-year-old daughters Emma and Hannah down to the Islanders' rink. The girls - who in true hockey fashion and are each missing a front tooth - are already Islanders fans, but their dad wasn't going to pass up a chance for them to see hockey's Holy Grail in person.
"I'm excited for them to see it," Crocco said. "It's one of the coolest trophies ever and I wanted to share this with them and to pass it down is really exciting."
The Cup was on hand as part of the the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, which is making a two-day stop on Long Island this weekend. After a day at Northwell, Fan Arena will be at NYCB Live (Nassau Coliseum) on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Islanders preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Lord Stanley's mug was the star attraction, but the interactive roadshow had games and exhibits for hockey fans of all ages. The Museum Truck boasted a collection of old hockey sticks, skates, goalie masks and jerseys, showing the evolution from the game over the last 100 years.
The museum had an Islanders flavor to it, with Glenn 'Chico' Resch's old goalie mask, a re-creation of the Islanders locker room and pictures/footage of the Islanders' dynasty.
"I thought it was great, it was great history for the boys to learn about the NHL," said Brian Eskin who brought his two sons with him to the Fan Arena, "They got to see some of the highlights of the glory days, it was great."
The family event featured Sparky, dek hockey on the Islanders' outdoor rink and plenty of games for the kids.The Islanders also held an equipment drive on Saturday, encouraging fans to donate their gently-used hockey gear.
"I'm glad they brought it, it's great and you can see how many people showed up for it. It's incredible," Nick Matorano said after getting his picture taken with the Stanley Cup.
The Cup was easily the most popular attraction, with fans lining up around the parking lot just to get a picture.
Before getting their picture with the Cup, the Crocco's - fully decked out in Islanders hats, jerseys and holding their Sparky memorabilia - also took in an open Islanders practice, as the team held its second day of training camp. The perfect hockey day for a hockey family.
"We're just ready for the new season," Crocco said. "October can't come fast enough."