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New York Islanders

Alumni Weekend in the Books, Reminiscing & Remembering



New York Islanders

Under the leadership of majority owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, the New York Islanders have made more of an effort to bring alumni around.

This past weekend, the New York Islanders held their ‘Alumni Weekend’, which featured an alumni duel with the New York Rangers, raising $25,000 for the Northwell Health Foundation on Saturday, followed by a fun day at UBS Arena on Sunday.

Former Islanders & Rangers Come Together, The Importance of Alumni Events

Following the event, fans had a chance to chat, get autographs, and take pictures with their favorite New York Islanders alumni.

On Sunday, the New York Islanders welcomed and honored alumni throughout the day.

“We have to thank Jon Ledecky and Sir Malkin, I guess, for bringing us all back,” alum Glenn Healey (1989-93) said.  “I mean, when I say bringing us all back, I mean anybody who played one game with the Islanders is considered part of this hockey family.”

Healy, who is the Executive Director and President of the NHL’s Alumni Association, continued to speak on the importance of this weekend for the players and the fans.

“I think the big thing, and I represent NHL alumni as a group, all 3,800, but the key is to honor the past. And when I look at this beautiful building, this is my first time in it, I look at the guys that played in the ’80s, that won 19 straight playoff rounds, a record that will never be beaten, those players, they paved roads for guys like me to drive on them,” Healy said.  “And the new guys that are playing today that have great hopes and great visions and maybe a Stanley Cup that comes in this building. So we have to continue to honor the past. It’s that sweat equity that all the guys that are hanging up in the banners, that all the guys that played in this uniform, that have built this franchise and for the ownership to recognize that and bring us all back…for us to get back and feel we are part of the Islanders family, with these great fans, there are fans none like this in the NHL, so it’s a special, special weekend.”

The weekend was also a time to reflect on the alumni who have recently passed away.

“Well, it’s still pretty tender. Clarke is tender. He passed in January. Mike is pretty recent. Johnny Potvin in March just is still really tender and raw, and it’s really difficult to talk about,” Islanders legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier (1975-1990) said on Sunday during an interview with MSG Network’s Shannon Hogan. “But when we get together, we had a toast. We raised the toast to that. They’re still here in spirit. They’ll always be in our hearts. So, yeah, it’s rough. But the strength of family, especially our hockey family, when you gather, we rally really quick. We honor them by moving forward.”

All of the New York Islanders alumni had called Nassau Coliseum home. Seeing the Islanders new home at UBS Arena in Belmont Park was special.

“Being in this building, seeing it for the first time today, walking around, what an incredible building,” alum Pierre Turgeon (1991-1995) said in an interview with Hailey Hunter. Turgeon also played in the alumni game on Saturday, showcasing that he still has some left in the tank.

Alum Shawn Bates (2001-2008), who coached the alumni game along with Bryan Trottier, made his way to UBS Arena Sunday as well, his second time at the Islanders new home.

“It’s obviously come a long way. They were in need of a new building, according to the NHL, but for me, I played all my years in Nassau, and that was the best building to play a hockey game in and it was sold out, everyone was on you. It was great to play there,” Bates said. “But as we move on, as we look into the future, the new arena, I’ve been there once, will get there tomorrow, but it’s, you know, it’s the future of hockey. It’s what the players need.”

“You look at all, what they have as a locker room., the shafts and all that. Just the athletic training that goes into that, what’s in the building underneath which the fans don’t get to see, it’s overwhelming.”

A fan favorite, Darius Kasparaitis (1992-1996), shared his thoughts on the brand new arena.

“I was there already twice. It’s beautiful.” Kasparaitis said. “You know, it was a state of art, and I think Islanders deserved to have a new house. Even the Coliseum was a great place to play, and a lot of memories there. But, you know, I think UBS is great.”

Although this season has not gone the way anyone expected, being able to celebrate the New York Islanders alumni from the ’80s to the early 2000’s and for the organization to give them the experience, made it a special weekend.


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