Thanks to the generosity of the New York Islanders and RexCorp Islanders Inspire, kids 16 and under not only had the opportunity to watch the Islanders take on the Boston Bruins free of charge, but they also had a blast before the game even started.
As early as 4 pm, the Islanders Ice Girls and Sparky got the crowd rockin' by playing holiday tunes and distributing Santa Hats to warm up everyone's evenings. Soon after, Islanders fan favorites Steve Webb and Eric Cairns made the rounds signing autographs and talking to the excited crowd.
"It was nice to see so many kids out there with Islanders colors," said Webb. "The kids add a different element of enthusiasm and excitement to the crowd and we enjoyed having all of them cheering on the team."
On the line were dozens of parents with bundles of kids, including the Schlosser family from Bellport.
|Schlosser family |
"I'm here with my three boys tonight and it's fabulous," said Mr. Schlosser. "I've been coming to Islanders games since the 1980s, and this is just a fantastic night. We're starting a new generation of Islanders fans. I love it."
After fans received their free tickets and filed into the Nassau Coliseum starting at 5 pm they found a number of exciting options.
At the bottom of the escalator on the Coliseum lower level, a special Family Fan Zone was set up, which included the always popular Islanders inflatables, as well as air hockey and foosball stations.
As an added bonus, tables were set up for kids to design special Islanders signs to hold up at tonight's game. An assortment of colored paper, markers and crayons gave the youngest Islanders fans a chance to show their Orange and Blue pride during the game.
|Lockwood Family |
"I'm here with my five children and my lovely wife," said Drew Lockwood from Greenlawn. "This is a great opportunity for us to bring the whole family to the game. There was something to do for all five of my kids before the game. I was helping out my oldest daughter Annie with her homework while my wife took the other kids to make signs and play the games. It's been a great start to the evening."
But that wasn't all. From 5-6 pm, kids were allowed to enter the Coliseum ice and take a shot on the same goal that Rick DiPietro
Said Ken Byrnes of Northport, “This is an amazing act of generosity by Mr. Wang and the Islanders.”