On Thursday, March 23, students enrolled in Jack Mandel's Public Relations and Sports Marketing classes at Nassau Community College were given a special treat when class was held at the New York Islanders' Iceworks facility in Syosset.
The students were invited to Iceworks - the Islanders official practice facility - by former Massapequa resident Vincent Messina and Iceworks hockey director to tour the facility and listen to an "insider's look" into this popular sport. Messina is the nephew of New York Rangers Hall of Famer Sal Messina, who also did Ranger color commentary for 30 years.
Messina attended NCC in the 1980s and was enrolled in several marketing courses. One of the reasons why he consented to have students join him was because, "I remembered going on field trips with Professor Mandel and enjoyed the fact that he shared outside experiences with us. His class was never boring."
Judging from current students' comments and interests, it was obvious that this experience will never be forgotten as well. Justin Walker, a student in Professor Mandel's sports marketing class and a member of the NCC men's basketball team, said, "Although basketball is my first love, I have to tell you that this was close second. It was exciting to see hockey players so close up on the ice."
One of the highlights of the experience was the fact that the Islanders were practicing on the rink while the students were listening to Messina's comments. In addition, the students had the opportunity to hear Islanders Assistant Coach Dan Bylsma discuss sports marketing.
"My students may forget me, may forget all the notes and tests they took, but I guarantee that ten years from now, if I meet them in a mall or at a local park, the one thing they'll remember form this class was this field trip," Professor Mandel said of the event.