Scholastic Kids Press Corps
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new york islanders hurrican sandy fundraiser skate More than 2,000 Long Islanders, New Yorkers, and other residents of the tri-state take part in an open-skate fundraiser in Long Island hosted by the New York Islanders. (Photo courtesy New York Islanders)

Cold Ice, Warm Hearts

New York Islanders fundraiser helps those recovering from Sandy

By William Russell | null null , null

UNIONDALE, New York — Hockey is a fast, intense sport. And yesterday the New York Islanders showed it also has a heart.

The National Hockey League (NHL) team held the Hockey with a Heart Hurricane Sandy fundraiser on Monday at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. From 2-8 p.m., the Islanders opened up their home ice to the public and collected donations of money, clothing, and non-perishable food items.

But there was more to the fundraiser than just the skate. The Islanders Ice girls and team mascot Sparky were there showing their spirit. They were had interactive games set up around the rink for the children who came to the Coliseum. Food and drinks were also available.

All proceeds went to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief fund, and Island Harvest collected the many items the fans donated.

new york islanders hockey with a heart hurricane sandy fundraiser
Coats (top) and non-perishable food were some of the items donated at the New York Islanders' Hockey with a Heart fundraiser on Monday, November 12. (Photos courtesy New York Islanders)

According to the Island Harvest, more than 100,000 children on Long Island went to bed hungry before the storm. The number is unimaginable now.

The organization expected to get thousands of pounds of food at the event.

The fan turnout was amazing and collection bins overflowed with donations. More than 2,000 people turned out. "The people of long Island are amazing!" Robin Jacobson from New Hyde Park said. Jacobson has been a volunteer with Island Harvest for three years.

The kids were having a great time shooting goals at the inflatable goalie or sliding down the super-sized inflatable slide. Most couldn't wait to get their chance to get out on the ice.

Neither could the adults. Robin Mills from Bayshore, New York, is a big hockey fan said she was there "to help other people." Mill was affected by the hurricane with flooding to her basement and home, but she still feels very blessed.

That kind of positive energy was felt throughout the event.

"It's a great day," Teresa Romanelli from hard-it Howard Beach, Queens, said. "This is a great way to bring everyone together, very uplifting."

"It's extremely important for people to feel they are not alone," Miss Financial District Veronica Abreu added.

For the Islanders, Hockey with a Heart was a way to give back to their community.

"It's our home!" Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "For us to be able to give back and get the donations we have, we know that it's going to help these people. That's what we are here for, to help others."

But the event also was designed to raise their neighbors' spirits.

"It's a great turnout and it's a good day," Assistant Coach Doug Weight said. "Something small like this can bring a lot of smiles and hopefully bring a lot of warmth, food, and other important things to these people while they go through the hard times."  
"It's a relief for them," Capuano added. "A lot of these people have been through so much, to get out and socialize and skate around — it's a good feeling. You can see it in their eyes."

You can find share your Hurricane Sandy experiences and find more coverage of the storm and its aftermath on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog.


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