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ICE DREAMS COME TRUE

Sunday, 01.20.2008 / 1:42 PM / News
By Chris Botta
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ICE DREAMS COME TRUE

Biggest Long Island youth hockey tournament ever a smash success for hundreds of children and the tourney's leader, Islanders fan favorite Steve Webb


Steve Webb surveyed the large crowd of smiling children (and parents) at the Mite/Mini-Mite Jamboree of the Long Island division of the Lighthouse Tournament at the Coliseum on Sunday and allowed himself a proud smile.

He had every right to enjoy the moment.

When Webb – the Islanders' fan favorite (STEVE WEBB! STEVE WEBB!) – met with the directors of every hockey rink on Long Island and told him the Islanders wanted to host the biggest youth hockey tournament ever on Long Island, he understood some of the skepticism he was met with. This was going to be quite an undertaking – and it would culminate with the championship games of the Lighthouse Tournament on the ice of the Nassau Coliseum, where legends like Bossy and Trottier played.

But on Sunday, they pulled it off. And by "they," that means Webb, the Islanders' operations staff and, of course, the youth hockey players, their parents and coaches.

"A true team effort in every sense of the term," said Webb, the Islanders' Director of Grass Roots Hockey. "This morning we had the Mites and Mini-Mites out there on the ice of the Coliseum and that was an event I don't think any of us will ever forget. It's not easy having hundreds of youth hockey players on the Coliseum ice all morning – we said it would be organized chaos – but everything was beautifully organized and you could see the smiles on everyone's faces. That's why we did it."

After the Jamboree, the youth hockey players stayed for New York Islanders practice. As the Islanders players and coaches took the ice, many of the children (and picture-snapping parents) lined the ramp to get closer to their heroes.

"That was very cool," said Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais. "It brings a lot of us back to when we were in youth hockey tournaments and maybe we had a chance to meet an NHL player. These kids got the chance to see Ricky (DiPietro) and Billy Guerin and Brendan Witt and everyone on the Islanders and I'm sure it's something they'll remember for a long time."

Said Webb: "To me, the kids getting to see our players up close is what really pulls it together to make it a perfect day. When I was in tournaments as a kid in Ontario, my friends and I used to think it was the greatest just to get to play in one of the biggest rinks. But this is the Nassau Coliseum, where four Stanley Cups have been won and Billy Guerin and Ricky and all the other guys represent the New York Islanders. There's no question how much this means to the children."

Webb continued: "What I'm most proud of is that the youth hockey players, parents and coaches really understood the message the Islanders were trying to put out there – we care about our youth and their future."

Webb smiled again. The Islanders practice was winding down and the finals of the Lighthouse Tournament were about to begin. His day wasn't even half over, yet there was no place he'd rather be.

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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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