Friday, 24 December 2010 00:00
New York Islanders leading scorers John Tavares and Matt Moulson, goaltender Rick DiPietro and team captain Doug Weight were among the players and their family members pushing shopping carts instead of hockey sticks as they cruised the aisles of Toys “R” Us, selecting hundreds of toys for pediatric patients at several Long Island hospitals. The event was sponsored by EmblemHealth, which provides health insurance through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York.
The Islanders players and their families, including forwards Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen, PA Parenteau, Zenon Konopka and defenseman James Wisniewski filled dozens of carts with games, toys, dolls and action figures.
“I’m just excited to be a part of it,” Konopka said. “As a kid, you remember being so excited to get toys and gifts at the holidays. Now, we’re in the fortunate position to have the ability to give back to the kids who aren’t at home during the holidays. It’s a special feeling to put smiles on their faces while so many go through tough times.”
“We’re happy to partner with the New York Islanders in this holiday shopping spree, says EmblemHealth president and COO Frank Branchini, who added the program is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to give back to the communities it serves. “Having the players and their families personally pick out these gifts and deliver them is a priceless way to bring cheer to children who face medical challenges during the holiday.”
Next week, the players will personally deliver the gifts to pediatric patients at Stephen and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park; Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola; Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow; Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook; Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip; St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside; North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset; and the Henry Viscardi School, serving children with severe physical and medical disabilities, in Albertson.