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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Where Islanders Fans Gather

The New York Islanders have 24 regular season games remaining in their lockout-shortened season, with 14 of those contests being played on the road.

To get the faithful off their couches as spring approaches, the Islanders are teaming up in March and April with TGI Friday’s restaurant and Bud Light for Viewing Parties, where fans can gather for seven of those 14 away games. There are added bonuses to being at these locales on game night, which I’ll get into in a moment.

TGI Friday’s three Viewing Parties are being held on Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. at 5204 Sunrise Highway, Massapequa Park (the Islanders are playing in Tampa Bay that night); Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m., at 100 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington for the Islanders-Washington Capitals game; and Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m., at 3535 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown, the same evening the Islanders and Bruins face off in Boston.

The TGIF Viewing Parties feature appearances by various Islanders legends. For instance, Hall of Famer Mike Bossy, the Islanders’ vice president, corporate partnerships, often drops by to meet fans. Dina Tsiorvas, the Islanders’ arena hostess, is also a viewing party regular. Tsiorvas, an Oceanside native, has since 2003 been conducting live interviews which appear on the Nassau Coliseum’s scoreboard during Islanders home games, and runs the on-ice contests during intermissions. Two of the Islanders Ice Girls join Tsiorvas at these viewing parties, which are also notable because each fan in attendance is given a free raffle ticket. If your number is called, the ticket can be traded in for Islanders souvenirs, such as a player-signed hockey stick.

The Bud Light events have neither former Islander players nor Ms. Tsiorvas, but two Islanders Ice Girls, along with two Bud Light Girls, make it to the Bud Light-sponsored proceedings.  

The four Bud Light Viewing Parties are being held on Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m., at Miller’s Ale House, 3046 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown; Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m., at Buffalo Wild Wings, 358 B Broadway Mall, Hicksville; Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m., at Hurricane Grill & Wings, 275 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset; and Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m., at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1080 Broad Hollow Rd., Farmingdale. The opponents on those nights, in chronological order, are the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Flyers.

The Islanders have only 10 scheduled home games remaining, five of them taking place in March and the other five in April. In case they make a play-off run in late April, it is worth noting that the Isles’ final regular season home game at the Nassau Coliseum is on Tuesday night, April 16, against the Florida Panthers, and they must then go on the road for the final five games of their abbreviated 2012-2013 season, which concludes on Friday, April 26, in Buffalo.

Islander fans have had a number of things to be thankful for this season, no matter how it ends, most notably the emergence of 22-year-old forward John Tavares as one of the National Hockey League’s best players. 

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net