ROAD TRIPPIN' WITH THE TEAM
You've seen those shows on MTV where lucky winners get to go backstage with their favorite rock bands. Well, the Islanders have organized a similar experience for 14 Islanders clients, sponsors and suite holders for the trip to Boston against the Bruins.
On Wednesday afternoon, the 14 travelers hopped on board the Islanders private charter with Mike Bossy for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what the players do from departure to game time to the return trip home.
The VIPs stayed in the same hotel as the players, ate meals with the players and accompanied them to the morning skate and the game.
"It's our way of saying thank you to some of our sponsors," said Catie Bennett, Islanders Manager of Executive Suite Services. "It's a good way for the players to interact with them, whether it's at lunch or at the hotel. We want to give some of our most loyal supporters a unique experience."
One of the lucky 14 is Linda Armyn, who works for sponsor Bethpage Federal Credit Union and is back for her second trip in two years, after the Islanders began the program during the 2005-06 season. Each company was entitled two to four tickets to invite guests. Armyn used her three tickets for her clients.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone," said Armyn. "It's a good time for me, but also I get a chance to give something back to our clients."
This is the fourth time this year the Islanders have offered this opportunity to sponsors. They have traveled twice to Pittsburgh and once to Carolina. The players have been excited to interact with members of the extended Islanders family while on their road trips.
"It's been nice to meet people from the Long Island community," said Chris Campoli, who had brunch with some of the guests. "It's a good way to network with some people in other fields, outside of hockey. It turns out one of the people I ate brunch with I had played golf with over the summer. You just never know when you're going to run into people again."
The Long Island troop had a chance to go on the ice following the morning skate to take pictures. After a day of sightseeing the guests ate the pre-game meal with the players before chartering back to the arena for the game.
"The Islanders were all very personable and welcoming, always saying hi to us on the elevator or in the halls, said Armyn. "It's been a wonderful experience."