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Nearly 23,000 tix distributed for Isles' draft party

by John Kreiser
The chance to see their team make the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft Friday night may bring a record crowd of New York Islanders fans to the Nassau Coliseum.

According to the team's Web site, by Thursday afternoon, the Islanders had already distributed nearly 23,000 free tickets for their draft party at the Nassau Coliseum. The Coliseum, the NHL's smallest arena, seats 16,234 for hockey games. Floor seating -- obviously not available when the ice is in place, enlarges the building's capacity.

The event will include dressing room tours and activities for younger fans as well as a big-screen telecast of the Draft -- in which the Islanders have picks No. 1 and 26 in the first round.

The Isles got the No. 1 pick by winning the draft lottery after finishing last in the overall standings in 2008-09. In the weeks since winning the lottery, Snow has had extensive interviews with junior forwards John Tavares and Matt Duchene, as well as with Swedish Elite League defenseman Victor Hedman -- all three recently visited Long Island for meetings with Snow and other team officials, including owner Charles Wang.

Snow has not given any indication who the Islanders will select. He has said he doubts the team will trade the pick.

Among the attractions for fans at the draft party will be appearances by Isles Hall of Famers Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, both of whom now work for the team. There will also be live interviews with Snow and other team personnel, as well as with the No. 1 pick.

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