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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

Local veterans groups and residents gathered at Hicksville Middle School Veterans Memorial Park recently to honor brave servicemen and woman, past and present. William M. Gouse Jr. Post 3211 hosted Hicksville’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11.

The ceremonies began with the pledge and national anthem sung by Hicksville High School student Cassie Pursoo, accompanied by trumpeter Conner Hoelzer. Monsignor Thomas Costa from Our Lady of Church in Hicksville gave the invocation.

On Nov. 10, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of a beautiful new two-story house in Hicksville. However, while new dwellings are an ordinary occurrence on Long Island, this one was unique and special in a way that very few are.

The house at 77 Thorman Ave. was built in memory of Navy Lieutenant and posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Michael P. Murphy, a Long Island native who tragically died in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2005. However, this house represents more than just the dedicated service of a man to his country; it represents the beginning of a new life full of hope for a brother-in-arms and his family as well.


Sports

Football was Mike Torrellas’ heart and soul. He also liked a good Turkey Bowl.  

Unfortunately, the Hicksville Crusaders co-founder wasn’t able to witness the program’s inaugural event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 8.

Torrellas passed away suddenly last December due to a blood clot, but the spirit and drive of the man who wore the number 53 and tragically passed at that age still surrounds the Crusaders football program.

The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers putting up their fists for funds will be Hicksville business owner Mell Goldman, who will be fighting under the nickname “The Kid.”  

Goldman is the President of All Boro Cleaning Services. He stated that he was enticed at the opportunity and wanted to contribute to charity.


Calendar

Model Railroad Open House

November 28-30

Popcorn Balls

November 30

Craft Fair

November 30



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