After helping the Islanders win four Stanley Cups as a player, Hall of Famer Mike Bossy is helping to promote reading to Long Island's youth as the team's Executive Director of Corporate Relations. On Thursday morning, Bossy visited the James H. Boyd Intermediate School in Huntington to read to the students and tell them about Commerce Bank's Summer Reading Program. The program encourages children to read by depositing $10 into their Commerce Bank Youth Savings account after they have completed reading ten books over the summer.
Before reading to the children, Bossy introduced himself to the crowd of students, who never had a chance to see the legendary right wing during his playing days. While the students may not have seen him play, many had heard of him and proudly sported their Islanders pride in the form of jerseys, hats and T-Shirts.
Following the introduction, Bossy jump-started the kids' summer reading by opening up "Alex's Amazing Lemonade Stand," which tells the true story of a four-year-old cancer patient who began selling lemonade to raise money to cure children's cancer. The 3rd-5th graders listened attentively to Bossy, who noted how inspirational the story was.
"It's important to know that you have the means to accomplish anything," said Bossy to the students after the reading. "All it takes is hard work, inspiration and dreams. Reading is a first step and will help you accomplish things in whatever profession you pursue."
The kids were extremely excited about the question-and-answer session which followed Bossy's words of wisdom. Nearly every one of the almost 200 kids raised their hands hoping to find out everything from how many sticks Bossy broke to how much money he earned in his rookie season, to which he jokingly responded, "Not enough."
"We can't thank Mr. Bossy enough for coming to our school," said the school's principal, Sharon McCabe. "To see somebody like Mr. Bossy talk to our kids about reading, what else can you ask for? It really made their day."
Just when everyone thought Bossy was set to depart, a special announcement was made that any student wearing Islanders gear could come up to the stage to receive an autograph from Bossy. Over 20 kids rushed to the front to have their Islanders apparel signed. Those students who didn't receive an autograph didn't leave empty-handed. Later, every kid received an Islanders yearbook and folder. In addition, the jersey that Bossy wore at the event will be given to one lucky student at random.
"In order for a franchise to become great it needs to reach out to the community," said Bossy. "There is nothing greater than stressing to our children the importance of reading. This was a great opportunity to talk to kids and interact with them. Commerce Bank has been a loyal sponsor of the Islanders and it's been a thrill to work with them in supporting their summer reading program."
To find out more about Commerce Bank and its Summer Reading Program, please visit their website at www.commerceonline.com