Amateur hockey development has been a major focus on Long Island since the Islanders were founded in 1972. In those 40 years, the development programs have grown exponentially. Today, there are year-round clinics to teach kids of all ages the essential skills needed to play hockey.
The Islanders also help to develop youth hockey on an international level by hosting foreign teams for a tournament at Nassau Coliseum every January and by sending Long Island Pee-Wee players to a world-renowned tournament in Quebec City.
The Islanders are committed to growing the sport of hockey on Long Island and around the world. These programs, funded by the ICF, are the building blocks of that growth.
The Islanders Hockey Academy continues to provide entry-level hockey players, ages 6-14, with the opportunity to be introduced to the game of ice hockey. For the past three years, participants in the program receive full equipment, instruction and ice time. Players that participate in the program learn the fundamentals of the game from coaches at Islanders Iceworks and The Rinx in Hauppauge.
Every year, the Islanders host several youth hockey tournaments geared toward local in-house teams on Long Island. The Jamboree is a day-long event that features cross-ice games for mini mite and mite teams. This past season the Islanders Jamboree was held in November and featured sixteen teams from across Long Island. It was a day of smiles, sportsmanship and hockey for all the young participants.
The Junior Islanders are made up of elite 11 and 12-year-old hockey players from Long Island. The team is selected through a tryout and coached by current Islanders coaches and alumni members. The team participates in the annual Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament held each February at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City. The tournament, considered by many as the biggest pee-wee hockey tournament in the world, brings more than 2,300 athletes from 16 countries to participate in the World Championship of Pee-Wee hockey.
Lighthouse International Tournament
In conjunction with Charles B. Wang's Project Hope, the Islanders annually host an international youth hockey tournament. The Islanders hosted the 7th Annual Lighthouse International Youth Hockey Tournament in January 2015. Teams representing China, Finland and Japan played against American squads from Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. In addition to playing tournament games, teams also participated in an international skills competition.
Hockey is for Everyone
The Islanders are proud to support the NHL's "Hockey is for Everyone" initiative. The Islanders have a variety of programs that cater to hockey players of all types and abilities. The organization believes that everyone who wants to participate in the game of hockey should have that chance. For more information on the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone program.
Try Hockey For Free Day
The Islanders support USA Hockey's effort to grow the game of hockey in the United States. As part of this initiative, the Islanders has hosted Try Hockey For Free Days. This initiative was started by USA Hockey in an effort to develop and grow the sport within the United States from the ground up. Participants receive loaner equipment and instruction.
Courier of Courage
Many young children across Long Island have experienced a hardship in their lives. Despite life's struggles, these kids have overcome obstacles to get where they are today. The "Courier of Courage" program acknowledges these children for the battles they have face and the hardships they have overcome. The "Courier of Courage" becomes an Islanders VIP for day and is invited to attend Islanders practice.
Hockey Across America Weekend
Hockey Weekend Across America took place from February 28-March 2, 2014. The effort is aimed at two major objectives with a weekend of events at the local and national level to promote the game of hockey. The weekend's festivities are used to celebrate the game of hockey and all involved in the sport throughout the nation using all means possible.
The Ultimate goal of Project Hope is simple: To provide young Chinese athletes with access to educational opportunities. Project Hope will endeavor to create opportunities for cultural exchange through international youth hockey events and by promoting Project Hope scholarship placements in the United States.