Former major-league slugger Darryl Strawberry, who won world championships with both the New York Mets and New York Yankees, dropped the ceremonial puck before Saturday night's 3-2 Islanders victory over Ottawa Senators. Strawberry is the founder of The Darryl Strawberry Foundation for Autism.
"We raised money for an Autism center in St. Louis," said Strawberry, who was attending his first Islanders game. “The money goes into the kids program. My wife's sister worked at the center in St. Louis, and when I visited it, I was blown away. I knew nothing about Autism at the time, and I realized that they needed help. There needed to be more of a global awareness of Autism."
When Strawberry walked onto the ice, he was greeted by a standing ovation from the Coliseum crowd.
"It's great that the Islanders are helping to support the cause," said Strawberry. "I was more than happy to participate. It's all about going out and doing the work to help these families with the program. My program focuses on helping those in need now."
Earlier this year, Doug Weight and Bill Guerin visited Shea Stadium during Mets batting practice. The two met the former right fielder, who totaled 335 home runs and 1,000 runs batted in during his 17-year career.
"They're great guys," said Strawberry about Weight and Guerin. "I told them I'd come out and support them this year. Plus, they have the right colors––Mets colors. We have something in common. This is my first Islanders game, and I'm liking it. Hopefully, it will become a new hobby for me."
As a member of both the Mets and Yankees, Strawberry had the distinction being a home team player at both Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
"I'll always remember the big apple at Shea because it went up a lot for me," said Strawberry. "But Shea Stadium was due for a change. With Yankee Stadium, I'll miss the crowd being right on top of you, especially in right field. It's time for a new era and stadiums for both teams. It will be nice for fans to walk into new stadiums and know they will be here for a long time. Now the new stadiums can make their own history." AUTISM SPEAKS NIGHT AT THE COLISEUM
While the Islanders were taking care of the Ottawa Senators on the ice Saturday night, off the ice the team continued its "Hockey With a Heart" campaign with Autism Speaks Night, presented by Bank of America. The Islanders are proud to have seven specific charities in November and December serve as the charities of the game. Each charity will receive a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales.
On Saturday night, Trent Hunter presented Michael Giangregorio, Long Island Chairperson of Autism Speaks a check for $18,000.
"It's amazing for me as a father of a seven-year-old to have not just a national team, but a home team like the Islanders supporting us," said Giangregorio. “Autism Speaks raises money for walk programs throughout the country and the largest walk takes place right here on Long Island at Jones Beach. We are in a venue that's fitting for us."
Now in its fourth year, Autism Speaks committed an unprecedented $30 million in new research funding to uncover the cause(s), prevention, treatments and cure for autism, making it the nation's top private funder of autism research.
"Autism Speaks has four primary missions. We raise money to fund research across all areas of Autism. We raise money to support advocacy on a national level. We support awareness and you don't nights better than this for awareness. And we now provide family service grants throughout the country to organizations to support their missions." Click here
to find out more about Autism Speaks. FIREFIGHTER APPRECIATION NIGHT SET FOR MONDAY
The Islanders will continue to play "Hockey With a Heart," on Monday, when the Vancouver Canucks come to town for Firefighter Appreciation Night, benefitting the Stephen Siller Foundation.
The goal of the Foundation is to honor the legacy and love given by Stephen Siller. The annual Tunnel to Towers Run pays tribute to Siller's heroic life and death, along with his 342 FDNY brothers, and all those lost on 9/11. Click here
to find out more about the Stephen Siller Foundation Click here
to watch an IslandersTV video about Firefighter Appreciation Night.