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Islanders Host Successful Lighthouse International Tournament

Fifth-annual event showcases talent from across the world

For the fifth consecutive year, pee-wee hockey players from across the globe descended upon Long Island to compete in the New York Islanders annual Lighthouse International Youth Hockey Tournament. Charles B. Wang’s Project Hope charity and the Islanders Children’s Foundation funded this unique international tournament with the goal of creating opportunities for cultural exchange through youth hockey events.

After three days full of games, Finland’s Ilves Islanders skated away with the gold and silver medals in a thrilling back and forth final. They showcased a group of talented young players with the ability and hockey sense of much older teams.

Japan, which traveled the furthest to attend the tournament, showed their European friends and North American hosts that the under-represented hockey nation is growing a crop of young, smooth skaters.

Japan played a hard team-game that was competitive all the way to the end of their tournament. The New York teams, two from Nassau County, two from Suffolk County and a Westchester County squad had the incredible opportunity to skate on professional ice and receive the superstar treatment of their Islanders heroes. Fostering international good will and making friends from around the world was a bonus; kids this young may not even realize how special that part of the tournament was Luke Baskind of Carle Place held up strongly in both ends of the ice for the Islanders throughout all three games of the tournament. Westbury’s Harry Nicolas enjoyed a great scoring tournament for the Nassau Islanders. And of course, everyone got to take a few days off from school to play hockey.

“It was really fun,” Maxlee Lerow of Team Japan said, adding, “It’s a really big experience. I’ve been playing with kids in Japan all the time and it’s really different to see other countries play with a different style.”

One of the highlights of the tournament was when 10-year-old Jere Turunen of Finland pulled off a play usually reserved for professional skills competitions. Turunen may not be a household name yet, but the Finnish youngster scored a breath-taking, lacrosse-style goal from behind the net that wound up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays for Jan. 21.

Turunen beat out John Tavares’ two goals that night for the number No. 9 spot, an unheard of feat for that age level. Off the ice, the teams watched an Islanders practice and enjoyed a private meet-and-greet with the players. Andrew Hartog of the Nassau Islanders even brought home a souvenir from the tournament – a signed stick from Kyle Okposo.

“I was on the rails and he walked by,” Hartog said excitedly. “I gave him a high-five and he stuck the stick out and I got it.”

New York City also had a starring role in the Lighthouse Tournament. For many of the international players, it was their first time seeing the bright lights of the Big Apple. They had the sports experience of a lifetime, including a tour of Citi Field, tickets to a New Jersey Nets game and a special visit to the Islanders-Hurricanes game on Saturday night.

“It’s a big city,” Henri Ekman of Finland said. “Everything is … big.”

The week started off with a skills competition for the international teams on Wednesday and wrapped up with a banquet for all teams on Sunday evening at the Marriott. There were a few special guests on hand at the banquet, including the man responsible for this yearly tournament, Islanders owner Charles Wang.

Sunday also was a chance for the players to say good-bye to one another before heading home for another year. Before it ended, the sharpies were brought out and they went around signing one another’s jerseys.

“I’ve made friends with a couple of the Finnish kids,” Nassau Lions Owen Brown said. “It’s cool.”

Islanders’ autographs may be worth a bit more, but you can’t put a price on making new friends at the rink. Founded in 1972, and this season celebrating their 40-year anniversary, the New York Islanders Hockey Club stands proudly as Long Island’s sole major league professional sports franchise. Keep up with breaking Islanders news on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NEWYORKISLANDERS and on Twitter@NYIslanders. For further information on any individual/group ticket options or sponsorship opportunities, contact the team’s office at 501-6700 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more team information, log on to newyorkislanders.com.

News

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, more than 600 military veterans and Gold Star families in Hicksville will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Hicksville is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. On Feb. 26, with a contingency of veterans in the audience, the board voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.

You’d expect volleyball, football and running the mile in gym class, but what about juggling, plate spinning, or riding a unicycle? For the past 30 years, The National Circus Project has been challenging typical notions of gym class by bringing skilled, trained circus artists into schools for performances and week-long workshops.

Every year, the Westbury based nonprofit goes into approximately 350 public and private schools all over the northeast, including a previous visit to Dutch Lane School in Hicksville. Teams of expert circus artists will come into a physical education class for either a day or week-long workshop. Students get a front row seat to a performance by some of the best in the business, as well as hands on experience with traditional circus skills such as juggling, wire walking or acrobatics. Students in the week-long workshop get to perfect a specific skill and show it off during a show at the end of the week for family members.


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



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