It was a fantastic way to kick off Superbowl Sunday for New York Islanders fans, as Mark Streit and Nino Niederreiter were on hand at the Isles Team Store at Nassau Coliseum for a meet-and-greet with fans.
The Swiss duo posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted with more than 200 fans from 2:30-4 p.m. Streit and Niederreiter were thrilled with the turnout, as Isles fans postponed their Superbowl pre-game plans for a chance to meet the pair.
“I thought on Superbowl Sunday there was only going to be a few people,” Streit said. “But actually there was a big show, a lot of people and a great afternoon.”
The Isles faithful packed the Coliseum Team Store, bringing stories, food and gifts for the players. Christine Rohde of Brentwood presented Streit with a hand-knit, blue and orange scarf, allowing him to join the club of players with one of her scarves.
“She told me that she was going to do one for me,” Streit said. “I finally got it. It’s really nice.”
Rohde didn’t have one for Niederreiter, but don’t feel too bad for the young Swiss star.
“Nino has one already,” Rohde said. “He wants a toque now.”
Adding a little flavor to the afternoon, Robert Roffler of Fresh Meadows surprised the duo by speaking their native tongue, Swiss-German. Roffler, who moved from Switzerland 36 years ago, said the opportunity to talk to his countrymen was too good to pass up.
“I’m a big fan of theirs," Roffler said. "I figured I’d speak Swiss-German to them. That’s one of the reasons why I came.”
Both players were in agreement as to the most interesting item to cross the table Sunday.
“One guy had an old walking stick with him,” Niederreiter said. “So we had to sign that one, it was pretty impressive.”
After playing two games in two cities in two nights, the fans were appreciative that the players took their free time to sign autographs instead of resting and relaxing.
“They’re all nice guys,” Rohde said. “They talk to you and I like that they interact with the fans.”
Everyone in attendance was offered discounts and specials at the Islanders Team Store. All fans were treated to 15 percent off of all merchandise and fans that spent $150 were given two free tickets to an upcoming game.