2013 Draft Party a fun experience for fans, players

Thousands of fans gathered at Nassau Coliseum Sunday to watch the Isles make their first round pick

Monday, 07.1.2013 / 12:14 AM ET / News
By Sarah Holzberg
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2013 Draft Party a fun experience for fans, players
Thousands of fans gathered at Nassau Coliseum Sunday to watch the Isles make their first round pick
Matt Martin meets a young fan at the Draft Party (Photo: New York Islanders)

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The crowd Sunday at Nassau Coliseum picked up where they left off during the 2013 postseason and continued to “Rock the Barn.”

Thousands of Islanders fans poured into the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon to kick start the 2013-14 season. Doors opened at 1:30 for the Islanders’ 2013 NHL Draft Party, where fans enjoyed locker room tours, meet-and-greets with Islanders players and prospects, giant inflatables, a Ferris wheel and unique items from the Hockey Hall of Fame before the Islanders announced their first pick. In addition to the fun and games, the American Red Cross was on hand to accept blood donations.

“Every year I look forward to the draft party - it is one of my favorite days of the year,” said lifelong fan Kyle Rapon from Bethpage. “Every summer I call my father and we come down. It has become a family tradition.”

Fans got a chance to mingle, take photos and get autographs from current and former Islanders. “Mister Islander” himself, Bob Nystrom, enjoyed the festivities and meeting the energized Islanders faithful throughout the event.

“It is always really exciting coming to the draft parties,” Nystrom said. “I have such a great time with the fans. It’s an exciting time for the Islanders and every team, and I love coming back home. After a playoff run where the players truly gave it their all and have taken a giant step, we are really encouraged about next year, and I think they are going to do great.”

The fans relished the opportunity to take a tour of the locker rooms and see where their favorite players get prepped for the games. The chance to meet a few fan-favorites for autographs and pictures was a dream come true for so many committed fans.

Matt Martin, Ryan Strome, Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton were among the players taking part in the festivities.

“I think to see an outcome like this shows that hockey is on everyone’s mind throughout the offseason,” Strome, the Islanders fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft, said. “Everyone is excited about the upcoming season. Seeing these fans makes me wish we were in training camp right now.”

As the draft began, fans gathered into the stands and watched on the video board to see whose name Garth Snow was going to announce. Fans took guesses at who would don the orange and blue sweater on stage. The crowd was ecstatic when Snow announced his selection, Ryan Pulock, a defenseman from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.

“This pick was great,” Kevin Mazill, a fan from Glen Cove, said. “Pulock has an incredible slap shot. I really thought they were going to pick a goalie but this is the perfect way to go.”

Pulock and the rest of the Islanders 2013 draft picks will be on hand for mini-camp the second week of July, which culminates with the Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage on July 11 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the game can be purchased by clicking HERE.

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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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