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New York Islanders - Lighthouse Tournament a extraordinary success

Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 12:32 AM
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New York Islanders - Fifth Annual Lighthouse International Tournament
New York Islanders - Lighthouse Tournament a extraordinary success

The fifth annual Lighthouse International Youth Hockey Tournament was yet another success for all participants.

After three days full of games, Finland’s Ilves Islanders skated away with the gold and silver medals in a thrilling back and forth final. They showcased a group of talented young players with the ability and hockey sense of much older teams.

The Ilves Islanders took home the gold, and the silver. Watch retrospective video
Click here for photos from Day 1
Click here for photos from Day 2
Click here for photos from Day 3
Click here for photos from Day 4
Japan, which travelled the furthest to attend the tournament, showed their European friends and North American hosts that the under-represented hockey nation is growing a crop of young, smooth skaters. Japan played a hard team game that was competitive all the way to the end of their tournament.

The New York teams, two from Nassau, two from Suffolk and a Westchester squad had the incredible opportunity to skate on professional ice and receive the superstar treatment of their Islanders heroes. Fostering international good will and making friends from around the world was a bonus; kids this young may not even realize how special that part of the tournament was. 
And of course, everyone got to take a few days off school to play hockey. What could be better than that? 

“It was really fun,” Maxlee Lerow of Team Japan said. “It’s a really big experience. I’ve been playing with kids in Japan all the time and it’s really different to see other countries play with a different style.”

One of the highlights of the tournament was when 10-year-old Jere Turunen of Finland pulled off a play usually reserved for professional skills competitions. Turunen may not be a household name yet, but the Finnish youngster scored a breath-taking, lacrosse-style goal from behind the net that wound up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays for Jan. 21.

Turunen beat out John Tavares’ two goals that night for the number No. 9 spot, an unheard of feat for that age level.

Off the ice, the teams watched an Islanders practice and enjoyed by a private meet-and-greet with the players. Andrew Hartog of the Nassau Islanders even brought home a souvenir from the tournament - a signed stick from Kyle Okposo.

“I was on the rails and he walked by,” Hartog said excitedly. “I gave him a high-five and he stuck the stick out and I got it.”

New York City also had a starring role in the Lighthouse Tournament. For many of the international players, it was their first time seeing the bright lights of the Big Apple. They had the sports experience of a lifetime, including a tour of Citi Field, tickets to a New Jersey Nets game and a special visit to the Islanders-Hurricanes game on Saturday night.

“It’s a big city,” Henri Ekman of Finland said. “Everything is…big.”

The week started off with a skills competition for the international teams on Wednesday and wrapped up with a banquet for all teams on Sunday evening at the Marriott. There were a few special guests on hand at the banquet, including the man responsible for this yearly tournament, Islanders owner Charles Wang.

Sunday also was a chance for the players to say good-bye to one another before heading home for another year. Before it ended, the sharpies were brought out and they went around signing each others jerseys.

“I’ve made friends with a couple of the Finnish kids,” Nassau Lions Owen Brown said. “It’s cool.”
Islanders’ autographs may be worth a bit more, but you can’t put a price on making new friends at the rink. 

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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