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Islanders and Rangers Announce First "Islanders-Rangers Charity Challenge"

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Building on one of the most intense and competitive rivalries in all of professional sports, the New York Islanders and New York Rangers today announced a charitable component to almost three decades of on-ice competition. The winner of the teams’ best-of-five regular season series will direct $100,000 to local charities to be paid jointly by the teams.

The winner of the series will also receive the newly established LaFontaine Trophy, named in honor of former Islanders and Rangers star Pat LaFontaine, who is known for his tireless commitment to charities throughout the tri-state area. LaFontaine played eight seasons with the New York Islanders and culminated his 15-year NHL career with the Rangers in 1998. The Islanders-Rangers Charity Challenge faces off when the two teams meet tonight at the Nassau Coliseum.

The New York Islanders will split their donation between the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York, Cancer Care of Long Island and St. Christopher Ottilie School. Cancer Care provides social care each year for more than 80,000 cancer patients, their families and friends. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York is the largest Make-A-Wish chapter in the country and has fulfilled more than 3,500 wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. St. Christopher Ottilie, located in Sea Cliff, is a school for handicapped children that Islanders center Dave Scatchard is deeply involved with.

The New York Rangers will split their donation between NYR SKATE, a division of the Madison Square Garden Cheering for Children Foundation, and the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. The Cheering for Children Foundation is dedicated to improving New York’s after-school programs, and currently benefits more than 25,000 boys and girls in all five boroughs. The Lustgarten Foundation supports pancreatic cancer research, and was established the name of the late Cablevision Vice Chairman and Madison Square Garden Chairman Marc Lustgarten, who died of pancreatic cancer last year.

“The New York Islanders enjoy the great rivalry we share on the ice with the Rangers – and we know our fans enjoy the great competition as well,” said Charles Wang, Islanders Co-Owner and Chairman, Computer Associates International, Inc. “But while we know that the games will always be intense on the ice, this charitable component allows us to also have a positive impact off the ice and benefit some great charities.”

“The rivalry between the Rangers and Islanders has provided many great moments for hockey fans over the decades and is a source of pride for both organizations and its’ fans,” said Charles Dolan, Chairman, Cablevision Systems Corporation. “This year, we are enthusiastic to join Charles Wang and the Islanders organization in a friendly competition where local charities will win.”

As part of LaFontaine’s involvement, a donation will also be made to his newest charitable endeavor, “Hockey’s All-Star Kids,” which benefits children’s hospitals across North America.

Following the series’ opening game at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday, November 22, the clubs will play the next three games at Madison Square Garden on January 26, March 5 and March 28. The Challenge will culminate at the Nassau Coliseum on March 29. In 171 career meetings between the two clubs, the Islanders hold a slim 78-76-17 advantage, with the Rangers posting a 50-25-10 record versus the Islanders in games played at Madison Square Garden.
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