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The New York Islanders are celebrating their 50th anniversary by giving back to the community.
Through the Islanders Children’s Foundation, the team has donated $50,000 to Ice Hockey in Harlem, a program that offers free hockey instruction and educational experiences to children in Harlem.
“The Islanders are committed to growing the game of hockey in metro New York, both on and off of the ice,” said Isles co-owner Jon Ledecky.
This donation follows an earlier contribution of $27,000 from the team to the organization in honor of Isles legend John Tonelli, who is a supporter of Ice Hockey in Harlem.
Ice Hockey in Harlem is on a mission to make hockey accessible to all families in the community, and the recent donation will help cover program costs such as equipment, ice time, and travel to and from rinks for over 175 participants aged between 4 and 18. With most students being from minority communities, this donation will help them get access to the resources they need to learn and play the sport.
The closure of the Lasker Rink, the program’s primary practice rink in Central Park, for three years due to renovation has increased the need for financial support for Ice Hockey in Harlem. This has resulted in increased ice time demand and transportation costs to both Wollman Rink in Central Park and World Ice Arena in Queens.
Ice Hockey in Harlem goes beyond just on-ice training with a variety of educational experiences, such as speaker series and college exploration programs.
“Our children start at a young age and they stick with us until they go off to college,” said Malik Garvin, executive director of Ice Hockey in Harlem. “Our program is more about building better people than it is about being ice hockey players. Everyone knows the life lessons and values you learn playing hockey, and I’m fortunate to see kids pick it up every day. It’s not possible without the support of the Islanders and others out there.”
The Islanders’ donation is a great step towards helping Ice Hockey in Harlem in its mission to empower the community and promote diversity in hockey.
Top: Ice Hockey in Harlem, a charity group dedicated to promoting ice hockey among underprivileged communities, takes to the ice following the game between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 14, 2023. The Islanders emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline. (Photo credit: Dennis DaSilva)