Hockey On Wheels

Islanders coaches and staff took on a worthy opponent Thursday at the Henry Viscardi School

Thursday, 12.6.2012 / 5:44 PM ET / Community
By Travis Betts
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Hockey On Wheels
Islanders coaches and staff took on a worthy opponent Thursday at the Henry Viscardi School
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New York Islanders coaches and front office staff took part in a wheelchair hockey game against students from the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson on Thursday. The Cougars from the Viscardi School won 6-5 during a three period contest complete with 6-on-6 teams and line changes. After the game, Head Coach Jack Capuano, who played center, reflected on the afternoon.

“We played three periods of real intense, good hockey, and we came up on the short end of the stick. But all in all, I think everybody enjoyed themselves today and had a lot of fun. For the coaches and front office staff to come out today and put smiles on the kids faces was really special.”

Following the game, the Islanders coaches and staff handed out t-shirts, posters and other Islanders-themed items to the students in attendance. The coaches also signed autographs and took pictures with students.

Joe Slaninka, who works at the Viscardi School as an assistant teacher and head coach for the basketball team, served as referee for the contest. Slaninka, who is also an advisor for the school’s Friday after-school sports program, said the students enjoyed the time.

“To have the Islanders come out here, year after year, sit in the chairs and play hockey against the kids, it lifts everybody’s spirits,” Slaninka said. “It’s a fun day, it’s a fantastic day. It’s something that we look forward to as a school every year.”

The Viscardi School specializes in students with physical disabilities and has about 185 students ranging from 4-21 years old from Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as New York’s five boroughs and Westchester. Students can attend the school if their local public school is unable to meet their academic, social or physical needs. The individual districts bus students to and from the Viscardi School, which works hard to ensure the students are maintaining the same curriculum they would at their local school.

Angelo Zegarelli, the school’s Physical Education teacher, says a big part of that experience is the physical education classes.

“The great thing about our physical education program here is that all our students have an opportunity to participate,” Zegarelli said. “We pretty much have a 100% integration rate of all the students, no matter what the disability is, that get to participate in phys ed. We play hockey and other sports – everything that any normal student would do, but we just adapt it.”

In addition to hockey, the physical education course load includes baseball, football and basketball. As the school’s top players whizzed around the gym Thursday with ease, Islanders staff members struggled to navigate their way around the court.

“For somebody that’s never played a game like this before, to see all the little things that the kids deal with on a daily basis, is eye-opening,” Capuano said. “Spinal injuries and other circumstances keep a lot of these children in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives. They’re pretty incredible individuals and people. This makes us all realize how fortunate we are, so it was good to be a part of this today.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 75 34 40 -1 74
R. Strome 74 15 31 19 46
K. Okposo 53 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 74 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 75 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 69 23 16 14 39
J. Bailey 63 15 23 6 38
J. Boychuk 65 8 25 10 33
T. Hamonic 65 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 71 10 19 16 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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