ONE MORE CHANCE TO FULFILL A DREAM
By Jason Lockhart
To quote one of the first fans to show up at Tuesday's Select-A-Seat event, "I don't know how any Islander fan can miss this." You have one more chance on Wednesday, as the Islanders open their home to fans in unprecedented ways from 5 - 8 pm.
Almost 2,000 fans made their way through the Coliseum on Tuesday night, and everyone went home delirious with joy after their up-close and personal meeting with their favorite team. Mike Bossy, Garth Snow, Ted Nolan and Alexei Yashin were there as expected, but surprise guests Bryan Trottier, Trent Hunter and Andy Hilbert also paid a visit to the Coliseum to greet the fans.
The tour began with members of the Islanders sales staff guiding the visitors from the box office through the arena towards the locker room area. From there, the first stop was the coaches' office, where Ted Nolan was eagerly awaiting the first arrivals. Fans young and old were happy to share a story with Nolan and take a picture.
"It was really exciting to meet Ted Nolan," said youngster Zachary Kimmel.
"Ted listened to my son intently about how he played hockey at Wollman rink," added Zachary's father, Michael. "He was very nice to talk to."
After chatting with coach Nolan, fans were given an opportunity to peek into the Islanders' lounge, where the players can rest prior to games and practices. Next, it was off to the locker rooms, where Yashin, Hunter and Hilbert were sitting at their stalls. The onlookers' topics with the players ranged from talking about their good starts to their experiences playing on Long Island.
"It's good to get a chance to meet the players," said Boris Lidukhovr from Woodbury. "It makes you feel closer to the team."
In case visitors missed them on the way in, Islanders legends Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier were roaming the grounds talking to fans about the Stanley Cup years and their pride in the current team. Fans were ecstatic to see their Islanders idols from their childhood.
"For us this is an opportunity to say thanks to the fans for their support," said Trottier. "And for them, it's an opportunity to personalize their relationship with the Islanders. It's a chance for them to see a couple of old-time Islanders in Bossy and myself and some of the current Islanders in Yash, Trent and Andy."
The tour was far from done as the guests were given a special guided tour of the Islanders' equipment room from Richard "Shakey" Krouse, the Islanders' assistant equipment manager.
With help from Sparky and the Ice Girls, fans entered the newly renovated Islanders Executive Offices and passed by Bob Bourne's new Hall of Fame plaque before seeing general manager Garth Snow. In an informal roundtable setup, Snow discussed his new role as GM and his future goals for the team.
"Garth was a very friendly and approachable guy," said Tim Savlick from Middle Island. "I asked him about how the adjustment has been. He was pretty honest and open, which was good to see."
Day 2 of the Select-A-Seat event is Wednesday from 5-8 pm. Miroslav Satan called the Islanders' offices today and volunteered to be there for the locker room tour from 5 - 6:30. Arron Asham and Bruno Gervais will also be in attendance. FSN color commentator Billy Jaffe will be on hand to talk Islanders hockey. Once again, Ted Nolan and Garth Snow will be in their offices to answer any questions fans may have about the current team. And, as Trottier, Hunter and HIlbert proved on Tuesday, you never know who else might show up on Wednesday.
For Wednesday, fans should note that even if you cannot make it to the Coliseum until 7:30 pm, you will have plenty of time to take the tour and meet the players, Garth and Ted. The Islanders will not leave for the night until every fan has received their autographs and had their questions answered.
While you're there, purchase an Islanders Ticket Plan. The 23-Game Plan includes all four home games this season against the New York Rangers, substantial savings off box office prices, Stanley Cup Playoff privileges, VIP parking options and pre-sale access to major Coliseum concerts!
The 6-Game Plan includes four Saturday night games, 5 promotional dates and an option for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
For more information, call 1.800.882.ISLES.